Object and Art Handling Masterclass for Citizen Curators

Citizen Curators were invited to participate in this excellent workshop held in the spacious Falmouth Council Chamber. The huge table was laid out with a selection of packing materials and four objects which we were later to wrap, but first Natalie took us through the rules of preparation, teamwork, condition reports, materials, handling and packing.

Preparing to move or pack an object requires good planning regarding not only the equipment and materials required, but also aspects of personal dress to avoid damage e.g. by zips, buckles or jewellery. Work must be in a clean environment, with no food or drink. Good communication within the team is essential to avoid accidents – 85% of accidents in museums are down to human error.

We had a whole new vocabulary to learn when examining an art work for any damage for a condition report on arrival, moving or departing a gallery. A useful tip was to unpack objects on the white acid free tissue paper, as small chips or paint fragments can be easily seen and saved. All damage must be recorded.

Next we discussed the different packing materials and their uses. The acid-free tissue paper comes high on the list of materials that do the least damage to objects. We were taught to make tissue puffs, a particularly useful skill for packing china and items at high risk of damage.

Our team then wrote a condition report and securely packed an object, a piece of sculpture, which ended up looking like a package from a fish and chip shop!

A fun exercise at the end of the day was to pack an egg in a cardboard box and to drop it from the second-floor balcony. Needless to say, as novices most of our eggs were cracked or broken, but congratulations to the two people whose eggs remained whole!

Thanks to Natalie for an excellent presentation and teaching us practical and useful skills.

Linda Collins – Citizen Curator at Penlee House Gallery and Museum

Family Friendly Award Winners 2018 – Mevagissey Museum

An engaging audio trail of heritage tales that leads listeners to sites around the town. Mevagissey Museum worked with Kneehigh theatre and Cornwall One Parent Support to gather stories form the community and link them to heritage sites and artefacts from the museum. The trail can be downloaded from the website.

Applications are now open for 2019’s Cornwall Heritage Awards. Find out more and how to apply here.

Spotlight on: Celine Elliott, Community Engagement Officer at Royal Cornwall Museum

Celine Elliott has joined the team at the Royal Cornwall Museum as their Community Engagement Officer. Celine’s post is funded through the Cornwall Museums Partnership’s NPO programme, supported by Arts Council England.

Celine has worked for over a decade in Community Engagement in Cornwall and the North East of England, where she also studied part-time for a Master’s degree in Museums, Galleries & Heritage Studies. To be given the opportunity to engage a broad range of individuals and groups with the fascinating collection of RCM, Celine is excited by the possibilities the role presents.

Since being in post, Celine has hit the ground running with a number of projects that have increased the museum’s outreach work and targeted new audiences.

Over the six weeks holidays, she collaborated with Truro Foodbank to add a free family pass to every food parcel being given out. Truro Foodbank is just a short walk from the museum, and last year more than 2500 food parcels were distributed. A third of the recipients were families with children.

There was a 90% take-up rate on the passes, and the initiative is now being extended to include non-school holiday periods as well. Celine says, ‘It’s important that we don’t exclude those who are going through economically challenging times and that’s why we’re delighted so many families have chosen to use their pass.’

The initiative has also led to the museum working with Truro Library, to provide free family passes that can be loaned out and returned like a book.

Celine has also quickly improved the museum’s offer for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In collaboration with Spectrum, a local charity that provides residential care for adults and children, Celine has developed Relaxed Opening events, sensory resource backpacks, pre-visit downloads and an online sensory map.

‘It’s been a great learning curve and one that we will continue to build on in the future. A museum like ours should be there for everyone, whatever their personal challenges, and that’s what we’re doing as much as we can to achieve.’

Celine’s hard work was recognised by the Truro and Falmouth MP and Minister for Disabled People, Sarah Newton, who visited as part of the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour campaign.

Most recently, Celine asked a local group called The Material Girls to help out with the museum’s Fun Palaces event. They knitted 150 feet of colourful wool to cover the pillars in front of Royal Cornwall Museum. Once it was taken down, Johnson’s Dry Cleaners in Truro offered to clean it free of charge, and the ladies separated it into 35 scarves. The scarves have now been given to St Petroc’s Society who work with single homeless people in Cornwall. A representative for the charity said, ‘We’re bowled over by everyone’s generosity,” said Lois. “These gifts will make a real difference to our clients and, on their behalf, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved.’

Having reached out to so many new and local audiences for the museum, we can’t wait to see what Celine does next.

Cornwall Museums Partnership’s NPO programme has provided funding for new Community Engagement Officers at five museums in Cornwall. This enables museums to undertake brilliant projects like Celine’s. Twenty jobs, five apprenticeships, and five paid-internships have been created by our Arts Council England-funded programme.

Audience Initiative Award Winners 2018 – Perranzabuloe Museum

A pop-up museum on the beach with heritage talks, temporary climate change exhibition about and information about the mining heritage evident on Perranporth beach. Perranzabuloe Museum, the Parish Council and Exeter University and their students worked together to realise this ambition project to engage beach visitors with heritage.

To find out more about how you can apply for the 2019 Cornwall Heritage Awards click here.

CMP announces Fiona Morris as new Chair

Cornwall Museums Partnership is delighted to announce Fiona Morris as their new Chair.

Fiona has taken over the role of chair from Ferrers Vyvyan, Deputy Lieutenant of Cornwall and the current owner of Trelowarren, who had served on the board as Chair since the beginning of the charity three years ago.

CEO Emmie Kell says, ‘We’re extremely grateful to Ferrers for his hard work during our first few years as a charity supporting museums in Cornwall to thrive. I’m excited for Fiona to join the board as we embark on our next phase, with an ambitious business plan as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations.’

Fiona is a Music and Arts Producer with over 25 years’ experience producing and commissioning. Fiona joined The Space in January 2016 from Leopard Films where she was Head of Arts and History. She has worked in the UK indie sector for most of her career but also spent six years working in BBC Music. She has produced programmes for Channel 4, Sky Arts, international broadcasters and has worked in partnership with DVD and digital distributors, record companies and with the alternative content cinema sector. She has made a variety of award-winning films including performance, documentary and entertainment programmes that have received Prix Italia, Emmy, Grammy and BAFTA awards.

She has extensive experience working with cultural institutions in the UK and has provided consultancy services on the arts and the digital world to organisations including Arts Council England and English National Opera. Fiona was formerly chair of the Climate and Art charity Cape Farewell and is currently a Trustee of the Wales Millennium Centre.

Fiona says, ‘I am delighted to be taking over as Chair of the Cornwall Museums partnership. Set up in 2015 the CMP team have amply demonstrated the significant benefits of having such a unique sector support organisation working alongside the county’s museums and galleries. Developing collaborative and innovative strategies to help promote, protect and extend the reach of Cornwall’s culture and heritage.  I look forward to working with the team and the board to help consolidate and grow this vital role locally, nationally and beyond.’