A new exhibition at St Davids celebrating 200 years of the RNLI launches soon with an exciting opening event. 

Courage and Community: RNLI 200 Cymru is inspired by the tales of valour from the six lifeboat stations and 13 RNLI lifeguarded beaches along Pembrokeshire’s beautiful but hazardous coastline.

Timed to coincide with the RNLI’s 200th anniversary, the exhibition at Oriel y Parc National Park Discovery Centre is a collaboration between Amgueddfa Cymru, the RNLI and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Courage and Community will also feature an Arancia-class inshore rescue craft, offering visitors the chance to get on board, try out some RNLI equipment and have a taste of a rescue at sea.

Consisting of stories, pictures and artefacts, the exhibition will open on Saturday, June 29 in true celebratory style, with a packed programme of music, talks and family-friendly activities.

At 2pm and 2.45pm, Dr Julian Whitewright, Senior Investigator (Maritime) at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, will give 15-minute talks on two notable rescue events from the 20th century – the 1900 wreck of the Cashier off the Solva coast, which involved the Little Haven rowing lifeboat; and the role played by the St Davids lifeboat in an incident involving three tug boats lost west of Solva in 1981.

With water safety forming a key theme at the exhibition, a drop-in engagement pod will be open throughout the day to provide water safety demos and advice from the RNLI and Sian Richardson, Founder of The Bluetits Chill Swimmers.

Live music will be performed by the Solva Ukelele Pirates and Mike Chant, St Davids lifeboat mechanic.

As well as some sea-themed games, younger visitors will have an opportunity to become engineers and magicians in a drop-in thaumatrope workshop with local artist, Kate Evans. A thaumatrope is one of the earliest forms of animation and is an optical illusion toy made from a paper disk, with a picture on each side.

Manager of Oriel y Parc Rachel Perkins said: “We are thrilled to present Courage and Community, an engaging and interactive experience that we hope will captivate our visitors. By showcasing the incredible local stories of bravery and dedication from the RNLI, we aim to deepen the public's appreciation for their vital work and hopefully inspire a new generation of supporters and volunteers who will continue the legacy of lifesaving for years to come.”

The opening event of Courage and Community will take place on Saturday 29 June, between 10am-3pm. Entry to the exhibition is free and it will remain on display at Oriel y Parc until June 1 2025.

More information about this and other events and exhibitions at Oriel y Parc can be found at www.orielyparc.co.uk.

A sister exhibition, titled Making Waves, is also being hosted by Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum until 16 March, 2025. Further details are available at https://museum.wales/swansea/.