BBC Cymru Wales invites you to try some hands-on history

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BBC Cymru Wales is launching one of its most ambitious series ever - The Story of Wales - in the new year, and you can be part of a special preview showing.

The Story of Wales, which is presented by one of the BBC's most prominent broadcasters Huw Edwards, will be tracing the history of the Welsh nation from 30,000 years ago to the present day.

And as part of the story, St Fagans: National History Museum just outside Cardiff is throwing open its doors for a day of exclusive preview screenings and special workshops relating to the new series.

The BBC has been working closely with The Open University in Wales, who have helped fund the programme, and a number of other partners, to put together a day out to remember at St Fagans Museum on Thursday, January 19.

Everyone is welcome to come along to view a sneak preview of the six-part series, which will be on BBC One Wales in the new year, and step into The Story of Wales photo booth for a special memento.

As the series features many of the well known Welsh names which have passed into iconic status, such as Owain Glynd┼Ár and Hywel Dda, The Open University in Wales will be inviting people to nominate their own Welsh icons. You can have a chat about who you think deserves that status and write a short piece about why you think your favourite should be included in the list.

The National Museum Wales team will be based at the Hendre'r Ywydd Uchaf Longhouse and the Celtic Village giving visitors an insight into daily life in Iron Age and Tudor Wales. Visitors can also explore how the Museum experts find out about life in the past.

Welsh heritage conservers Cadw will give visitors the chance to tackle history hands on by trying their skills as an archaeologist.

Community archaeologists from Cadw and the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust will be on hand with authentic tools to help you excavate a mystery site and show how to record your findings. There's also an opportunity to see how master masons worked, building the great medieval castles and abbeys of Wales which have survived for centuries.

And the People's Collection Wales - a website where anyone in Wales can share their own fascinating photographs and stories - will be looking for additional materials and memories to add to the site and showing visitors how to upload them.

The activities are just one part of a drive to get everyone in Wales thinking about their history - be it national or personal - as part of The Story of Wales. St Fagans Museum will be open to visitors from 10am on January 19, with The Story of Wales activities taking place between 10.30am-3pm.

Besides the launch day, the partners, including the National Library of Wales, will be running other activities tied to The Story of Wales programme early next year, while BBC Cymru Wales has additional programming on the same theme.

The Story of Wales will start with a reconstruction of the earliest known human burial in Western Europe - the "Red Lady" of Paviland, almost 30,000 years ago. Its epic story runs through Hywel Dda's uniting Wales under one law, the Welsh at the heart of the Tudor court, through the immense pace of change in the country as coal mines and iron works flourished - with technological and educational innovations putting Wales ahead of the world in the Industrial Revolution - and right up to present day devolution.

The programme is made by Green Bay Media for BBC Cymru Wales in partnership with The Open University in Wales and is set to be screened early in 2012.

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