Freelance Early Years Facilitator – Minnows Explorers

national maritime museum

National Maritime Museum Cornwall

We wish to appoint a suitable individual to work as a Freelance Early Years Facilitator to help the Museum expand our successful early years ‘Minnows’ programme.

With funding and support from Nesta and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, together in partnership with the Eden Project, we will be launching a new exciting session, Minnows Explorers. Working with the NMMC Learning Team, the Early Years Facilitator will help to develop, plan and deliver a pioneering new programme of activities aimed at grandparents and their grandchildren.

This new session is due to start at the beginning of October 2019 and will run until mid-July 2020. It will therefore be important for the appointee to be able to commit to the entire duration of the programme and work flexibly in order to meet external deadlines.

The new sessions will be designed to help grandparents who regularly look after their under-fives to play and learn together by exploring the Museum involving storytelling, games and craft activities.

There will be a total of 33 Minnows Explorers sessions, delivered every Thursday afternoon from 1.00pm-2.30pm. The Facilitator will be expected to organise the setting up and taking down of these sessions, covering a four hour period incorporating the delivery of the session, for which you will be paid £80.00.

In addition we anticipate there will be 12 days for development and training, for which you will be paid £140.00 per day. Travel expenses for off-site training will be paid.

The Facilitator will contribute to the development and planning of high-quality weekly activity sessions and resources designed to engage a diverse intergenerational audience, working in consultation with the NMMC Learning Team.

Ideally you will have at least an NVQ3 or NNEB qualification (or equivalent) in Early Years and Childcare, with a good understanding of the Early Years Foundation Stage. You will have previous experience of working with children aged 18 months to 5 years of age and the ability to develop activities and resources which are fun and enjoyable for the under-fives. A DBS certificate will be required for this role (the cost of which will be covered by the Museum if you do not have one).

A full brief for this freelance position can be found here.

If you are interested in applying for this freelance position, please send your current CV, detailing your skills and experience, to lindafrost@nmmc.co.uk or send to Linda Frost, Human Resources Manager, National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Discovery Quay, Falmouth, TR11 3QY

The closing date: Monday, 9 September 2019 at 9.00am
Interviews: Thursday, 12 September 2019

Bright Sparks of 2018

Cornwall Museums Partnership and FEAST are challenging museums and artists to work together to generate original ideas for bringing more and different people into the museums of Cornwall to enjoy Cornwall’s unique heritage. For the third year, we are offering a joint small grants fund to enable the best ideas to be tested and delivered.

To get a better idea of the diverse range of projects that have enjoyed Bright Sparks support, here are the museums and artists who were successful last year.

Isles of Scilly Student Publication

The Islands’ Partnership worked with the Isles of Scilly Museum and the Five Islands Academy to produce a publication for visitors using selected artefacts as a starting point to explore local history.

Students visited the museum and interviewed local trustees and experts to investigate the islands’ rich heritage and changing fortunes over the past four thousand years.

The resulting guide for visiting families includes a young persons’ perspective on Scilly’s past, reflections on growing up on Cornwall’s islands and suggested activities linked to local culture and heritage.

Wish You Were Here

‘Wish You Were Here’ took as its starting point the idea of providing a winter escape for the residents of two nursing homes in Helston and the Lizard.

The Museum of Cornish Life worked with artist Susanna Webster, who brought to the project her creativity and experience working with residents in care homes, memory cafes and community settings in Cornwall. Together they designed a series of virtual visits to the museum using FaceTime. On these visits the residents were able to explore the museum and build relationships with the staff and volunteers without needing to travel.

This project allowed visitors who wouldn’t normally enjoy the museum to do so, and as a result of taking part, the nursing home residents became more comfortable using FaceTime and Skype to communicate with their own families. The museum purchased an iPad which they continue to use to help visitors engage with their collection.

The Looe Diehards

This project focussed on a little-known period in Looe’s history, the establishment in 1803 of the East and West Looe Volunteer Artillery during the Napoleonic era. The project wanted to remember this difficult time when the towns were despoiled of its trade by the threat of war and how the community came together.

The Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol worked with Sue Field, a local maker, community artist, and storyteller to help bring this story to life through the interplay of puppets as exhibits and animated characters. Archive material was used to write the stories of the Looe Diehard men, exquisite puppets of Captain Thomas Bond and Fisherman volunteer Pengelly were hand crafted and the museum’s team of volunteers were trained in their operation.

Building audiences and providing engaging and meaningful interactions is essential for the future of the museum and its collections. Through projects like this, The Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol can continue to promote and engage people with their local heritage.

Redefining the Museum Label: New Voices

Falmouth Art Gallery has been working with artist Felicity Tattersall, whose drawing practice is inspired by hidden narratives in museums and archives, and Curator Charlotte Davis to deliver this exciting public engagement project.

A variety of community groups have been given the opportunity to learn about the function and use of museum labels. During these workshops they have been invited to create their own imaginative and experimental museum labels using unusual materials, creative writing, drawing and digital media. This project is about rethinking how people from the local community connect with the work that is in the Gallery.

The project will culminate in a public exhibition at Falmouth Art Gallery, a shared learning digital event and an open call for everyone to come and create their own label for a piece in the collection.

Remembering People from the Past

This is a collaborative project between Lostwithiel Museum and creative researcher Amanda Davidge, using the museum archives and collection to discover more about lives of important people from Lostwithiel’s past.

To begin with the team decided to research the fascinating life of Frances Hext (1819-1896) who had lived in the town and written a book Memorials of Lostwithiel (and of Restormell):collected and contributed. Amanda ran workshops with the museum volunteers to create assemblage memory boxes, family trees and journals to illustrate her life in a large display.

Following this, family history workshops will be offered to the wider community who wish to investigate the town’s history as well as their personal family history and create their own ‘story boxes’.

Apply Today

We are looking for genuine innovation and collaboration between the artist(s) and museum, and for ideas which would appeal to a broad range of the community. We are inviting proposals for creative projects which spark interest in what museums have to offer: we want more people interested in their heritage and more people doing or experiencing something creative.

We are offering a number of small grants of up to £2,500. The project must involve some form of tangible activity or event with which the community can get involved.

Selection of successful projects will be made by a panel of FEAST and Cornwall Museum Partnership directors and a member of each organisation’ s board or advisory group.  The deadline for applications is 27th October 2019 and decisions will be announced shortly afterwards.

To apply, please download and complete the application form below.

For more information contact celine@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk  Tel: 01209500750 or  Emma Leaper feast@creativekernow.org.uk   Tel: 01209312502.

 

– Emma Leaper

FEAST Programme Administrator

Pride at The Royal Cornwall Museum

Royal Cornwall Museum at Cornwall Pride 2018

The Royal Cornwall Museum Pride Project is a rolling programme which started in 2017. It strives to uncover neglected heritage stories of LGBTQ Cornwall and is an integral platform offering queer events across the Cornish community.

Evidence of sexuality and gender fluidity have often been neglected in history. This is not through lack of evidence in which diversity existed, but representative of how political views can shape the histories being communicated. As a result, queer stories were often ‘straightened out’ or smoothed over, which meant an open discussion of sexuality in history didn’t exist.

The Museums ongoing pride project began with attending Cornwall Pride in 2017. This was followed by a year-long research project into queer history in Cornwall, culminating in a BBC Radio Cornwall series where different queer figures from Cornish history were discussed in the run up to pride 2018.

Publicising these historical queer stories from Cornish history challenges the heteronormativity of historiography, as many of the historical stories discussed in the series are well known local people who have been detached from their queer identity, such as Daphne Du Maurier. It is vital to remember the importance of championing these stories and to offer them a platform of validating Cornish history as queer history, as prejudice is still prevalent in many forms today.

LGBTQ Pride attendees with Royal Cornwall Museum

At Cornwall Pride in 2018 we took along a video recorder and asked attendees why pride in Cornwall was important to them. This contemporary collecting created a snapshot of queer identity which has now been accessioned into the Museums’ permanent collections. This was a significant step for the Royal Cornwall Museum as previously, nothing in the collection (a collection of over 500,000 objects) had been noted as LGBTQ. Despite a 200-year long presence in Cornwall, 2018 was the first time an openly queer object was accessioned.

In 2019, the Museum will be promoting gender fluidity in Cornish History where it will be exploring the stories of Gluck, Samuel Foote, Marlow Moss and many more.

Some may see the museum’s presence at Cornwall Pride as unexpected. The RCM is the first Museum of its time, in Cornwall, to attend Cornwall Pride. Statements such as ‘I did not expect the Royal Cornwall Museum to be at Pride’ and ‘I didn’t think the Museum would be the kind of place to support us’ were often heardThis is exactly the sort of appearance the RCM and historical institutions across the UK are endeavouring to break free from; the National Trust took a big step in exploring queer stories associated with their properties and the V&A have LGBTQ tours of the galleries.

Museums are not intended to be a neutral space and are there to inform and be open to interpretation, acting for and with everyone. The Museum is working hard on celebrating diversity by actively expanding the programme to become more inclusive, and by working with community groups. The Royal Cornwall Museum’s Pride project sends a message of acceptance, it allows the museum to welcome everybody and allows people to interact with their heritage in a way they possibly couldn’t or wouldn’t have before.

Pride at Royal Cornwall Museum 

This August the Museum will host a week-long pride event featuring:

  • An evening with local drag act Roxie Moron on Wednesday 17 August.
  • A talk by Dan Vo, who founded the award-winning volunteer-led LGBTQ Tours at V&A, London and developed Bridging Binaries for University of Cambridge Museums. He works with museums and galleries to shine a light on objects which explore gender and sexual identities through a queer lens.

If you would like to get involved in the Museums Pride project, please apply to be a Citizen Curator with the Museum, as part of the programme will support the Pride project.

Read more on The Hidden Histories of Cornwall’s Queer Community here!

– Sophie Meyer
Marketing and Digital Lead, Royal Cornwall Museum

Spotlight on: Nikita Brown from Wheal Martyn Clay Works

In the latest installment of our ‘Spotlight on’ blog posts, we hear from Nikita Brown, Exhibition and Engagement Officer at Wheal Martyn Clay Works near St. Austell, about the importance of accessibility in museums.

I believe that museums should act as community hubs, where all members of the community feel confident and safe to voice their opinions and take ownership of the museum and its collections. Improving accessibility is one way I can ensure that all visitors feel welcome at Wheal Martyn and have a fantastic museum experience.

So, what have we been doing at Wheal Martyn?

As Exhibition and Engagement Officer, my first priority was to improve the overall access to the museum for a general visit. Making small changes to the museum has allowed staff to work with more community groups and enhance the visitor experience for those with additional needs, whether this is creating visual stories for people with autism and anxiety, or simply changing how a gate opens to make it more wheelchair accessible.

At Wheal Martyn we have been working with partner organisations to seek expert advice and ensure our accessible information is easy to use. We are fortunate to be one of around twenty heritage destinations taking part in Heritage Ability’s, Heritage Lottery Funded project, which looks to improve accessibility and inclusivity in historical sites. Working in partnership with Heritage Ability, the museum now has a new Easy Read Guide making the site’s information easy to understand for those with learning difficulties, as well as a digital British Sign Language (BSL) tour of the site which can be viewed on YouTube or via a tablet at the museum.

I also received training from Heritage Ability on disability and deaf awareness which I have been able to replicate with other museum staff. We are fortunate to have fantastic, friendly staff at Wheal Martyn who are always willing to go above and beyond to improve visitor’s experience. The training has equipped them with relevant knowledge about how best to help all visitors, regardless of disability or need. It also highlighted the benefits of making small adaptations, such as having hearing loops, which we purchased two of to go in the reception and café.

Becoming an autism-friendly museum

I’m passionate about making attractions and historical sites more autism-friendly, so this was another one of my top priorities when I started working at Wheal Martyn. I started by creating two visual stories of the museum. Visual stories use images and words to show visitors with autism the layout of the museum and what to expect before visiting. An example being how the café can sometimes be busy and have strong smells. Visual stories are really easy to do, so I would encourage all historical sites to give it a go. Once I had finished the visual stories, I then had them checked by Spectrum, who specialise in Autistic Spectrum Disorders, to make sure they were useful for this group of people. I would really recommend seeking expert opinion where possible, as their advice was incredibly helpful and even though I was often on the right lines, it was great to get this confirmed by professionals.

With guidance from Spectrum, I created a quiet space at Wheal Martyn with comfy sofas and bean bags to allow people an area to chill out, if the museum gets too overwhelming for them. Visitors with sensory disorders can also use our sensory backpack, which includes ear defenders, fiddle toys and a sensory game. It’s great to see these bags being used around the site and we have received a lot of positive feedback from our visitors who have enjoyed using them.

A picture of Wheal Martyn's autism-friendly sensory bag.

In March 2019, Wheal Martyn held its first relaxed opening session which allows families to explore the museum at a quieter pace. Although only a few families attended the first session, the impact the session had on one of the families was huge. It gave them the confidence to return to Wheal Martyn with their extended family during the Easter holidays, giving them an opportunity to enjoy being together as a family.  The relaxed sessions take place every quarter, with our next sessions taking place on Saturday 19 October and Saturday 18 January.

Encouraging social group meetings at the museum

With help from our fantastic, committed volunteers, we have started running two new social prescribing groups held at the museum. Arts and Craft for Health which runs every Tuesday morning and a Sensory Garden group which will launch in September. Both groups aim to give those struggling with mental illness or other long term health conditions, the opportunity to develop their confidence and skills in a safe and friendly environment.

The Arts and Craft group consists of participants bringing along their own craft which they would like to work on during the sessions and they have the option of asking the coordinator for help and advice. What I have personally enjoyed witnessing is the participants sharing their craft skills with each other. I am always amazed at how caring and supportive these groups are and I have definitely learned lots of new craft skills from the participants myself!

People taking park in Wheal Martyn's Arts and Crafts for Health group activities.

We have artists regularly holding specialised workshops with the participants, so they have the opportunity to learn a new skill and explore the museum in a new way. Recently, the group has taken part in a sound workshop with artist Justin Wiggan and have even made their own bricks with the Brickfields project (a Whitegold initiative). As Wheal Martyn has an extensive brick collection, it was great to explore these stories in a new way with the participants and everyone was pleased with their brick designs.

The impact the sessions have on the participants is clear to see; confidence is growing, friendships have been formed and the group is always filled with laughter and support for each other. One of the participants who hadn’t drawn since he was at school, has enjoyed the sessions so much, that he has started up his own group on a different day. We also have a Memory Café which meets every second Monday of the month for people suffering from memory loss and their carers. The group consists of a range of informal arts, crafts and reminiscence activities, as well as a nice chat and cuppa!

Looking to the future

Wheal Martyn has a lot more planned over the next few months. Whether it is working with the Sensory Trust to create a sensory map and bespoke workshops for children with additional needs, or trialing live streaming of events to make them more accessible for those who can’t get to the museum. Perhaps the most exciting has to be the opening of our new facilities in April 2020, as part of the Clay Works project which will include a new gallery for temporary exhibitions, a new learning and activity space and a new permanent exhibition on the ‘Transport of China Clay’. The new improvements will also include a lift to access the exhibition space, meaning that more areas of Wheal Martyn will become accessible for wheelchairs.

I aim to embed accessibility in all areas of my work which includes temporary exhibitions where I try to ensure that all senses are stimulated through having a range of different interactives. I think my main learning from the last year is the importance of working with partner organisations for help and advice. Everyone I have contacted has been happy to help and are incredibly passionate about making more sites accessible. If you would like any more information about the projects mentioned above, then I am more than happy to share my learning with other museums.

– Nikita Brown
Exhibition and Engagement Officer
, Wheal Martyn Clay Works
https://www.wheal-martyn.com/