Raising the Standard – Banners of Cornwall and Devon

Raising the Standard

The South West Museum Development Programme working with 10 museums and heritage organisations across Devon and Cornwall has secured £67,500 from Heritage Lottery Fund as part of a £81,900 project to conserve, interpret and display 15 banners alongside a programme of community activities and online resource for schools.

The museums will work in partnership through festivals, village fetes, special events and celebrations of local communities during summer/ autumn 2017 to engage local communities and schools in the vibrant social history and contemporary relevance of the banners of Devon and Cornwall. Activities will share and celebrate local stories of social justice, identity and comradery and, as activity develops we will share this news here and via our social media channels.

The Museums include:

This project has been 3 years in development, working with the volunteers and staff from the museums to assess the conservation, collection care and display needs of the flags and banners. To find out more about this previous activity please see here.

Why Culture Matters to Cornwall: a joint statement on the value of culture in Cornwall from Cornwall Museums Partnership and the Wolfson Foundation

As Truro’s bid for EU Capital of Culture fuels debate around the value of culture to Cornwall and its economy, two organisations have come together to explain why investing further in culture is intrinsically important for Cornwall’s prosperity and wellbeing:


“Culture and the creative industries are highly significant to Cornwall. Our unrivalled cultural assets include over 200 festivals, over 70 museums, world class theatre, and leading contemporary art galleries.


Not only are culture and the creative industries central to Cornwall’s identity, they are also of great economic importance as a growing employment sector, generating some £2.73bn for the Cornish economy. The value of cultural tourism to Cornwall has been estimated at more than £180m.


Cornwall is recognised across the UK and internationally as a rural region with creativity at its heart. The power of culture helps us stand out internationally, it strengthens the Cornish brand and represents Cornwall and the UK throughout the world.


Our museums’ collections are integral to understanding Cornwall’s distinctive cultural heritage. The opportunities they provide for creative activities not only invoke a strong sense of place, but also promote shared experiences, strengthen the cultural bonds between people and improve our quality of life every day. Research has shown that 4 of the top 6 activities most conducive to human happiness and wellbeing are arts related (LSE, 2015) and 77% of adults take part in the arts at least once a year. (DCMS, December 2014)


It is the combination of the vibrant cultural offer and outstanding natural environment that gives Cornwall a unique creative edge and an international profile. Data from the Office for National Statistics recently revealed Cornwall as the place in England where people feel most content and satisfied with their lives; our cultural richness and strong sense of place contribute to this important wellbeing indicator.”


Recognising the significance and wealth of culture within Cornwall, the Wolfson Foundation has invested almost £1m in Cornish cultural and heritage projects since 2011. Chief Executive Paul Ramsbottom commented: “The Wolfson Foundation is a national charity perhaps best known for funding in the fields of science and health, and indeed our recent funding in Cornwall includes major support for the county’s palliative care. But we also recognise the vital importance of culture and so are delighted to have recently awarded funding of nearly £1 million across a range of museums and cultural centres in Cornwall: from Cotehele to Porthcurno, from Eden to Newyln Art Gallery and from Tate St Ives to the Royal Museum Cornwall. Heritage and culture have intrinsic importance, but are also crucially important to the economy of Cornwall – and to Cornish society’s identity and cohesion.”


CEO of Cornwall Museums Partnership, Emmie Kell, added: “Investment in culture brings significant social and economic benefits to Cornwall. Our distinctive heritage is one of our most under used assets which we believe has huge potential to support the increased prosperity and wellbeing of everyone in Cornwall. We are hugely grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for their continued investment in Cornwall’s museums and we urge local policy and decision makers to recognise the role of culture in creating a bright future for Cornwall.”


Lessons about Good Governance

What does good governance look like?

The concept of governance is very important, and it needs to be well established and understood by, not only board members and trustees of a museum, but by staff and volunteers aswell. So, what is governance?

Governance is the term used to describe the trustees’ role in developing the long term strategic direction of the museum; implementing policies to achieve the museum’s objectives; complying with legal requirements and governance documents; and accountability to those with an interest in the museum.

If we assume that the majority of people who are trustees are aware of what governance is, let’s look at what is not governance.

  • Governance is not about being involved in the day-to-day operations of an organisation/museum.
  • Governance is not about managing staff, volunteers, programming activities or operational spend.
  • Governance is not about working independently and in isolation. Now that we got all that negativity out of the way, let’s explore what are the Key Principles from the Draft Code of Governance.

So what is the role of a trustee?

  • Organisational purpose and direction – trustees have a duty to lead their museum strategically, with a clear vision, to achieve their aims as effectively as possible with the resources available.
  • Leadership – the Board leads by example insisting that anyone representing the organisation reflects its values positively
  • Integrity – trustees are legally required to work in the best interests of the charity of which they are a trustee. Trustees have ultimate responsibility for the charity’s funds and assets, including its reputation.
  • Decision making, risk and control – the Board retains overall responsibility for risk management. It promotes a culture of prudence with resources but also understands that being over cautious and risk averse is itself a risk.
  • Diversity – Boards whose trustees have different backgrounds and experience make better decisions.
  • Board effectiveness – the tone the Board sets through its leadership, behaviour, culture and performance is paramount to the success of the charity, and trustees will be judged in this context.
  • Open and accountable – the Board leads the organisation in being transparent and accountable.

It is fundamental for trustees to commit to and deliver high standards of governance and the ongoing development of best practice at all times. Simply meeting the legal requirement is not enough –  Museums owe it to their local communities, staff, volunteers, and visitors to demonstrate and practice exemplary leadership and governance.

For more information please click here.

Stand up and be counted – The Manifesto for Tolerance and Inclusion

The Museums Association has published its Manifesto for Tolerance and Inclusion – a rallying call to action for museum colleagues not to sit back and watch the rise of national and international intolerance, but to take a stance against it.

The manifesto sets out values and practical actions that form a mini code of practice, reiterating that the first tenets of the ethical museum are public engagement and public benefit. It says nothing more than that which many museums are already signed up to. It’s not particularly controversial, just a reinforcement that museums should be welcoming to all, should address diversity and challenge ignorance and bigotry.

So, is it really needed?

Well yes, I think it is. Many of us are heads-down, beavering away in our museums. We’re grounded in our local communities and aware of every nuance of local interest, it’s so easy to miss the significance of the bigger picture or even dismiss it as irrelevant, but to challenge intolerance we need to take action now, before issues are brought to our doorsteps.

It is the fact that museums are at the heart of communities that gives them the responsibility and privilege to make this challenge effectively. And we should even take it one step further and provoke debate. Debate and discussion can build stronger and more meaningful interactions; it can help us understand the complexities of our heritage, reflect on it and face up to our future.

A manifesto like this reminds us that we are all small cogs in a large machine – we work both individually at a local level, but also on a large scale together we work together to build culture. If museums, as the champions of their communities, don’t take the initiative, then who will?

Bryony Robins

Museum Development Officer

Museums Association publishes Manifesto for Tolerance and Inclusion

In light of the changing political state in the US, including the recent travel ban, and the high levels of racism, xenophobia and intolerance in the UK following the referendum, the MA has issued a Manifesto for Tolerance and Inclusion.

The manifesto aims to reflect the ethical values that museums should maintain, including tolerance, inclusion, equality and diversity. It further goes on to summarise some of the practical actions museums can take in order to actively promote these values within their work. The manifesto urges museums to ensure they are welcoming to all, while at the same time to use their diverse collections to tell the rich stories of immigration to and from the UK, and the role this has played in shaping culture, community and place. Finally, it also urges museums to take part in Refugee Week on 19-25 June, an event organised by the Refugee Council.

For more information: http://tinyurl.com/jmhl39s

Read the full MA Manifesto for Tolerance and Inclusion here: 06022017-Museum-manifesto-tolerance-inclusion[2]

Why you, me and everybody else in Cornwall should be feeling pumped about Truro 2023

European Capital of Culture – an institution, a European designation that celebrates culture across the continent, a year-long celebration, a reason to be proud for the ‘place you come from’. These are just a few of the things that come to mind when I hear ‘European Capitals of Culture’.

As a Cypriot national, I was born and raised in Cyprus, a country that joined the EU family in 2004. Throughout my early 20’s, I had chosen to live in different cities in Europe, including Krakow, Brussels, Edinburgh and, currently, Truro. I have always been overwhelmed by the power of culture; the way it is experienced differently by people, its diversity and its power to change the world and individual lives, and to pave ways that had never been paved before.

So, naturally, I was completely over the moon when I had first heard that Pafos, a tiny town in Cyprus, was awarded with the European Capital of Culture designation for 2017. The ECoC would be a great opportunity not only for Pafos, but for Cyprus as a whole, to earn a place on the European and, why not, the global map. As a matter of fact, I was so excited about the ECoC designation, that I wrote my MSc dissertation about it! Now many of you might think: am I a culture freak? Maybe. But facts don’t change; the European Capital of Culture can be the best thing to ever happen to a city/region.

But what makes a city, a region? Is it the landscape? Is it the sights, the buildings? Of course not; it’s the people that make the city, the local community and its cultural baggage. And it is thus the local community that is the main stakeholder of any important events that take place within any region, such as the ECoC event. Without the support of people and the community a region cannot achieve anything – which brings me to my next crucial point: Truro2023.

I have only been in Cornwall for three months, and, despite I’m not originally Cornish, I do feel like I’m part of the community. For this reason, I believe and support Cornwall with all my heart in its effort to submit a bid to earn the UK nomination for the European Capital of Culture. Bad news is, not everyone in Cornwall is in the same boat. A great number of people have failed to realise that a potential ECoC designation in Cornwall would be a great thing for Cornwall in a number of ways.

The bid for Truro 2023 needs the support of everyone in Cornwall. The support of the community is not only an official prerequisite for ECoC bidding cities, but also a decisive factor for the success of the event. A number of bidding cities make an effort to engage local people in the bidding process, by encouraging people to submit their own ideas for the programme, or by organising campaigns, consultation sessions and events. For example, over 150,000 people endorsed Liverpool’s ECoC bid for 2008, with over 100,000 (including 35,000 school children!) helping to ‘shape’ it. Events and actions such as community consultation sessions, information events and campaigns are no doubt in the pipeline in order to, on the one hand, provide valid information to the community regarding what an ECoC designation entails for Cornwall and, on the other hand, to actively include the people of Cornwall and share ideas with them regarding the bid.

Aspiring ECoC cities must prove that the support of the local community is evident from the bidding process. Unless the ECoC bid for Truro 2023 earns the sincere support from the community, it is destined to fail, because community support is everything. So, let’s all get on board.

Yiota Liopetriti, Catalyst Skills Programme Coordinator

Cornwall Museums Partnership

Legacy and Major Donors Top Tips

With competition for funding becoming tougher, it’s essential that museum’s look at diversifying their income streams. Legacies and major donors can form an integral part of your overall fundraising strategy. These donors are pretty canny though, and are increasingly looking at where they will see the greatest impact for their gift. So if you’re thinking about legacies and major donor’s then here are our top tips for getting started:

1. Before you even start, ask yourself some serious questions –
‘Is our museum funding fit’?
Is this the right project for us, at the right time?
Do we have the capacity, skills and expertise?

2. Write a really compelling case for funding, what do you hope to achieve, why is it important and what will happen if you don’t succeed are all good points to consider.

3. Ensure that all members of your organisation are engaged with the process, and understand the part that they have to play in it. The role of trustees shouldn’t be underestimated, it is their networks in the community and links to high net worth individuals that can make or break a legacy or major donor programme. Ask the question – how many of the trustees have the museum in their wills? How many donate to the museum?

4. Legacies and major donor’s are a slow return, taking many years to come to fruition, so it’s important to think strategically –

Be realistic and pragmatic about the time and resources required.
Do your research – create target lists of people with the capacity and inclination to give.
Develop relationships over time.
Consider how you can get individuals to feel engaged with and a part of the museum eg newsletters, behind the scenes tours, meet the curator etc.. Is there something unique you can offer them?

5. Keep an up to date database, this will help you to keep a really good record of your museum’s relationships with individuals, helping you to avoid mistakes and work more effectively. Understanding someone’s personal motivations to give is a powerful tool.

6. Become a tax expert, there are excellent tax deductible reasons for people who are in higher tax brackets to donate to charities.

7. Marketing may seem a bit tasteless, particularly with legacies, but unless people know about what you do, what you need and how they can help, then how are they expected to remember you when they’re righting their wills.

Skills development: Making Legacy and Major Donor Work For you – Workshop, 25th April, Plymouth

Further Reading: AIM Success Guides – Successful Fundraising at Museums

Our museums have the evidence that Cornwall has been a Capital of Culture for hundreds of years – Read our letter of support for the European Capital of Culture bid!

From Royal Cornwall Museum’s exceptional Bronze Age gold lunula to Penlee House Art Gallery’s international collection of the Newlyn School, Cornwall’s museums contain a wealth of treasures with the potential to inspire. They are the guardians of Cornwall’s unique and rich heritage.
The calibre, breadth and international significance of Cornwall’s heritage has long been under played. We believe that it is one of Cornwall’s key assets and one which we can maximize through the European Capital of Culture programme to deliver lasting social and economic benefits for people across the Duchy.
Through European Capital of Culture we can promote Cornish distinctiveness. Our museums have links stretching around the globe. There is much more we can do to capitalize on these connections to promote Cornwall as an ambitious and outward looking place; a great place in which to invest or visit. European Capital of Culture will help us to do this.
Museums are a key part of the modern Cornish brand that attracts over 4.5 million people a year to Cornwall. There is potential to grow this market and through European Capital of Culture we can support our visitor economy by attracting more cultural tourists in the shoulder season months through a vibrant programme of cultural events.
We believe that culture makes life better. Evidence shows that being involved in the arts has a positive impact on specific health conditions including dementia, depression and Parkinson’s. People who have attended a cultural event in the last 12 months are 60% more likely to report good health; more frequent engagement with arts and culture is associated with improved wellbeing. 4 of the top 6 activities most conducive to human happiness and wellbeing are arts related. Putting it simply, for thousands of people across Cornwall culture
is already making their lives better. European Capital of Culture status will help us to extend the benefits of cultural activity to many more people across Cornwall including our most disadvantaged communities.
Our combination of world class heritage and our network of talented and creative individuals means that we have the edge. There are over 2000 volunteers actively supporting museums across Cornwall and many more who are passionate about Cornish heritage. We already have much of the infrastructure in place to make a real success of this bid.
Our museums contain the evidence of Cornish ingenuity, creativity and ambition which continues to shape the lives of people around the globe today. Our museums show that Cornwall has been a Capital of Culture for hundreds of years and we are excited about the opportunity that the European Capital of Culture competition gives us to share this with the world.

Read CMP’s full letter of support for the European Capital of Culture that was sent to Cornwall Council here: CMP letter re ECOC 090217


Featured photo: http://tinyurl.com/h479vxj

Marketing: Why size doesn’t matter





Whether you love it or hate it, everyone wants to talk about marketing. Is it some kind of magic that can transform your museum into a popular cultural hub, or is it just a lot of effort for no return?

Well… The truth is, marketing, plain and simply is telling people about who you are and what you do. The challenge is doing this in the right way, and reaching the right people.

Whether your organisation is big or small, the principles are always the same. Whilst researching for a recent talk I gave, I found an interesting article on the V&A website. Always an avid admirer of their collections, I always thought they must have the most fantastic budget and complicated marketing plan to execute the amazing exhibitions they have on offer. The truth is, they are just like the rest of us. It’s all down to a few key principles.


Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes

Look who visits your museum and try start to form a profile of of your regular visitors. These groups can be split down into categories, helping you form a plan of how to best decide how to target these groups.

Different target audiences will have different motivations for attending a museum. Holiday makers and seasonal visitors will have different reasons for attending than a local family looking to explore a new exhibition. Think about where these people are likely to go, and how can you get the information to them. Where are they likely to see the information and what will make them come and visit?

You could look at targeting the tourism bureaus, posters in local shops/ supermarkets, offers in newspapers offering BOGOF, or a ½ price vouchers, inviting editorial teams of lifestyle magazine to do a feature, leaflet drops in holiday homes etc.  The opportunities are endless.

Use your contacts

By creating a list of local press contacts, you should try to reach out to them and get to know them. You may have to give something away, like inviting them for a free lunch or an exclusive first look around a new exhibition.

Whether this is basic editorial such as a local newspaper or lifestyle magazines, these organisations will offer a degree of free editorial if you have a good story. It’s sometimes an idea to centre this around an ‘event’ or ‘launch’ to measure how impactful the coverage has been.

Look for opportunities

Marketing is all about raising awareness, this maybe as simple as featuring in parish newsletter, the local tourism guides, and ultising memberships for organisations such as Town Chambers, FSB’s, and Visit England.

Target specialist groups

Is there a particular group that would be interested in an exhibition? For example – the V&A often get editorial in musical magazines for exhibitions that are centred around musicians like David Bowie and Pink Floyd. This is no different for your exhibitions. The larger museums use basic marketing principles but operate on a much larger budget. Many of the same principles can be replicated on a much smaller scale.

Creating posters and leaflets

These can be in targeted areas for groups that you are trying to invite into the museum. It may promote late openings for students, or mother and baby mornings for parents.

Social media awareness

It can be the dreaded medium that you either love or hate. Good content is key. It’s best to have one person managing this. Create a calendar of items like key events, special days, holidays etc. These will form the basis of your content. Concentrate on the platforms you know best. Use it to enhance what you are already doing – it won’t necessarily bring people to you directly, but it will raise awareness. It’s more important to post good content fairly regularly rather than something that’s not interesting everyday.

Create events that your audience want to attend

When looking at your target audience, you then need to ask yourself the question, what are you doing that will make them want to come to you. This could include reaching out to different groups and offering the museums as a space that people want to use. Are there speakers that could come for a special talk? Guided tours that could take place in School Holidays?

Communicate to your regulars

Retention of visitors is easier than acquiring new ones, so it’s also important to make your regulars feel valued and listened to. This could be by regular communication by email and newsletters. It also includes surveying people on the door to find out exactly where they have come from. This could be a simple question on admission to the museum or by asking them to fill in a quick form.

Collaboration is key

Don’t be put off, as many of these activities will take time to establish links within the community. One great way of spreading the word of a campaign, is collaboration with other organisations. This can range from anything to hosting a breakfast club for the chamber of commerce, to building links with local schools and colleges.

Going forward…

Some of the best marketing can be done for free. The main task is to look at the capabilities within your team and give tasks to each person. Remember, it’s impossible to do everything. It’s better to focus on one or two things and complete them well rather than a scattered effect.

Author: Becky Palmer, PlanB Marketing & Events