Swansea Maritime and Industrial Museum: Design and Development
The following is a description of a possible design for a major new museum development. It should be pointed out at the beginning that it is the concept of the present Keeper of Technology, and that it may not take shape in entirely the manner described. Thus the views expressed may not necessarily be those of the Curator of of the local authority who established it.
Swansea Maritime & Industrial Museum was established in 1974 with great foresight by the City of Swansea, and it is housed in the former 'Coast Lines' warehouse at the South Dock, both of which had ceased commercial operations some years previously. It was conceived as an integral part of a large and diverse leisure complex, part of which has already been completed. The primary objective of a museum of this nature must be to show the' visitor the rich variety of trades and projects which, though some have risen to prominence and since faded away, have made the City world famous. It is not intended to stop at a particular and arbitrarily chosen time in the past, for there is continuity: coal is still mined in quantity, tinplate is now made in continuous form rather than by hand processes, ceramics have been replaced by glass and in the processing of non-ferrous metals copper, zinc and lead have waned but nickel and aluminium have come to the fore. Neither should the City encourage belief in the idea of some golden age which has now passed. To this list should be added relatively new industries such as oil refining and chemical manufacture and, most recently, the making of silicon chips. Many of these activities depend directly on port facilities which have developed accordingly, Swansea's association with the sea being pre-industrial and having commenced in Viking times.