Penlee Inspired Online 2020

Although Penlee House is temporarily closed due to Covid-19, the Gallery is open online!

Penlee House will be running Penlee Inspired Online, a testament to the skill and passion for art and creativity in our local and online community. The unique Penlee Inspired Online exhibition will showcase works inspired by collections and exhibitions past at Penlee House Gallery & Museum.

Professionals, amateurs and total beginners can join in and produce paintings, pictures, poetry and more. Penlee House will be displaying their favourites across their digital platforms. Tag them in your creations and use the hashtag #penleeinspired2020.

The exhibition is open to all ages. Closing date 1 May 2020.

How to join in:

Just take a photograph of your work and upload it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag Penlee House in any of your creations relating to the Penlee House collection.

Stuck for inspiration? Every week there will be a Penlee Inspired Challenge, this will be based on an item from the collection and we want to see how this item inspires you! This could be a sketch, poem, short story or painting.

The Penlee Inspired Challenge is meant to be a fun task that you can spend 5 minutes or 5 days doing. Every week Penlee House will be sharing their favourite Penlee Inspired Challenge responses so make sure to tag them and use the hashtag #penleeinspiredchallenge

Follow Penlee;




Penlee House is owned and operated by Penzance Council

Penlee House is supported by funding from Arts Council England.

Sources Of Financial Support For Museums And Their People During The Coronavirus

Many people have been asking us about the financial support available for museums. We have provided a round-up of current support and sources of information below, summarised by Kernow HR and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub.

Please do contact us if you have any concerns or questions. We are here to help.

Best wishes,

The CMP Team


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

You will need to: 

– Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.

– Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required).

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement.

Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

Further Information


How To Get A Coronavirus Grant

Many museums are asking if they are eligible for Government aid during the coronavirus outbreak, and how and when can you get the money.

This summary from the Growth Hub set out who’s eligible for the grants and how to get the money

Find Out More



For any organisations and individuals that are VAT registered, your VAT payment falling between the 20 March and 30 June can be deferred.

Taxpayers will have until the end of the 20-21 tax year to pay any liability that has accumulated during this period.


Don’t Fall For A Coronavirus Scam

Scammers have been quick to launch scams relating to Coronavirus.

Don’t fall victim to fraudsters, learn how to spot a scam.

Find Out More


Support For Freelancers And The Self Employed

We hope there will be further news soon about government support for freelancers and self-employed workers. The Creative Industries Federation are petitioning government to provide support for the many freelancers who make up the creative sector (including those working with museums).

They are also offering 6 months free membership for freelancers.

Please sign and share the petition and if you are a freelancer in Cornwall who needs help, please contact us and we’ll do what we can to offer you support and guidance at this worrying time.

Currently, Self-Assessment payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period. This will be an automatic offer so you don’t need to apply for it.

Other sources of information for museums and galleries;

– Arts Council England


– Museums Association 

Finding Margaret – Emerging Voices

Becki and Katie

The Emerging Voices bursary supports museum volunteers or emerging professionals to undertake training, research or placement opportunities that enhance their skills and bring new benefits to their host museum.

Becki Brattin and Katie Bunnell decided to apply for the bursary following their experience as Citizen Curators at Falmouth Art Gallery. They have been awarded the bursary to continue developing their project, “Gut Reaction” which focuses on audience responses to the Margaret Whitford Bequest, a collection of 48 contemporary prints and a sculpture acquired by the gallery through the Artfund.

Since our last blog post back in Sept 2019, we have been busy tracking down the artworks from Margaret Whitford’s wider collection: paintings, sculptures, ceramics and prints spread across 8 different museums and galleries in the UK. This has involved interactions with collections managers and curators in Cambridge, Bath, Eastbourne, Canterbury, Southampton, Warwick, Hastings and Aberystwyth where people have been interested to find out about the extent of Margaret Whitford’s collection and have been supportive of our project.

Our search has not only involved us in making connections with collections managers and curators, it has also initiated multi-layered and open-ended conversations with Margaret’s friends and colleagues from her life as an academic and feminist philosopher. Many of her academic colleagues have been delighted to be reminded of Margaret and motivated to share reminiscences that are helping us to make connections between her collection and her life. Some have given us valuable inventories of artworks detailing purchase dates and places, and others have been very generous with their time and efforts in connecting us with people who might be able to fill in more detail including some of the artists included in her collection. Through our conversations we have discovered there were more works in Margaret’s collection that she specifically gifted to friends.

We have discovered a little more about Margaret as a person: all the academic friends who have come forward talk positively about Margaret as a friend, about her relaxed and open approach to life, happy to talk about anything. If only she were here to talk to us herself! In addition to colleagues from later life, we have done some work on her early life in Cornwall: visiting the house in Redruth where she grew up and talking with women who were at school with her at Camborne Grammar. Those we have interacted with were not close friends, but they remember how exceptional she was at school and were interested to hear what had happened to her after she left.

Conversations have largely taken place online through email and occasionally by phone, but to our delight this network of communication, now gently humming in the background to our research, resulted in a visit to Falmouth Art Gallery from Professor Robyn Ferrell just last week on Fri 6th March. Robyn is a writer and philosopher from the Australian National University (ANU) and was a friend and colleague of Margaret. She had heard about our project from Prof Christine Battersby, feminist philosopher and executor for Margaret Whitford’s art estate. Robyn did not know that a large proportion of Margaret’s collection now resides at FAG and was really keen to see the works and share her memories. We recorded her talking while she was viewing the collection, kindly made available by Natalie Rigby, Collection Manager at FAG and we are now exploring ways in which we can make that available.

And this question about what to do with all the material we have gathered is our current BIG question! Here is an edited excerpt from our conversation this morning:

B : We’ve spent so much time researching, how do we format the material we currently have to shine a light on Margaret as an exceptional person and show people her remarkable collection of artworks. How do we make what we have learned accessible?

K: For our Emerging Voices application we proposed to create a digital exhibit. The idea is that if we can compile our material into a visual digital database that we and/or our audience can interrogate in a multiplicity of ways. From our perspective as curators searching through the data will help us see new patterns and connections and develop new threads to present to different audiences. I also like the idea that one person might be interested in the prints, someone else might be interested in the ceramics or sculpture others might want to know about her life and her friends and that the digital exhibit will allow them to explore those themes across all the material – if we can make it work!

B: Yes, that sounds great. I think it helps to think about specific audiences – our Citizen Curator training highlighted the importance of thinking about audience. We now have a wealth of material about Margaret and her extended collection, but who is it for?

K: Yes, I agree, it is really interesting to think about specific audiences. It would be great to think about ways we can illuminate Margaret for young women in Cornwall for instance.

B: Yes, and I think it’s really important to acknowledge the people we have been in contact with as our audience too. We have emailed and spoken to people from Margaret’s life, from her grammar school days in Camborne, her colleagues from Queen Mary and through the Society of Women in Philosophy (SWIP) as well as the artists who she bought work from and made friends with. And we have material about her students who remember her affectionately. Five distinct areas already, I think. It would be good also to connect with her remaining family – we know she has a brother, Christopher. We are sensitive to her connections – we have become familiar with names, people who are important in her life. They are in part at least the audience for our research, they are already invested. We care about them because they cared about Margaret and still care about her memory. Our communications and questions about Margaret have stimulated their memories and shared interests – some reconnected through our research.

K: Yes, they are and there are also local people who are interested. Going back to Camborne Grammar school, there are 9 or 10 women we have made contact with who said they were interested to know more about Margaret after she left school. These are also our audience – some still local, but not all

B: I am really interested in developing a local audience. Wanting to make it relevant and interesting for people in Cornwall, to make the link between a Camborne schoolgirl and a female academic feminist philosopher highly regarded both nationally and internationally. It’s an inspiring story for women in Cornwall to hear.

K: From reports we have gathered, it does seem that she felt somewhat suffocated in Cornwall as a young woman and she felt there was more for her in other regions of the country. It would be interesting to learn more about her family and community she was born into in Cornwall. Maybe she felt like every other teenager searching for their individual identity, wanting to break away from their family or maybe there was more to it than that?

B: We are hoping to make contact with her brother to find out more about her attachment to Cornwall and family but have not done that yet. We know that she left Christopher things that she had inherited from the family house in Redruth, Cornwall. And from what we know about some of the objects she kept, it feels as if she was attached to the women in her family, but we don’t know that for sure.

K: So there’s always more to find out about Margaret! What we really need to do now is to work out some ways of making what we already have visible to others so we can maybe test out what we have on the audiences we are interested in reaching. And after talking about our project with Oliver Scott, Senior Digital Engagement Officer at Cornwall Museum Partnership last week I think we should have a go at making a digital timeline with some of the material that we have and see how that works and what it looks like.

B: Ok, let’s do that and I am going to continue sourcing images of the extended collection from the other galleries and from private collections to add to our digital exhibit. Very recently we have been told that there could be a possibility of seeing the artworks that were auctioned off in aid of St. Nicholas Hospice so that will be interesting to view another group of works from her collection which aren’t on public display.

K: Cool and maybe we should also mention that we have changed the title of our project from “Gut Reaction” to “Finding Margaret Whitford”? The idea of having a gut reaction to art is still an important one for us in terms of making art accessible to all, but we think that “Finding Margaret Whiteford” is a better description of what we are doing now. It is perhaps a more active title that other people, our audience, can use to find out about Margaret themselves using the digital exhibit we are planning to make?


-Katie Bunnell and Becki Brattin


A Guide to Self-Isolation

At this challenging time, many of us are now finding we are having to self-isolate, whether this is through guidance or as a precaution. However, the uncertainty could start to unravel many questions you may not have had to ask before.

Below you will find a really handy guide to self-isolation for employees, as well as the latest employment advice on Coronavirus, which will answer many of the questions you may have at this worrying time.

Thank you to Shelley Tookey of Kernow HR for providing Cornwall Museums Partnership with these handy resources. If anyone has any questions, please get in touch with us at

‘If you need support and guidance with HR/Employment matters including recruitment, compliance or help in navigating the most difficult employment issues. Whether it is a single issue or support with a variety of areas, we can work together to resolve quickly and effectively.’ Kernow HR


Please click the below links to access these resources;

Coronavirus Newsletter

Self Isolate Guide

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement

We know many of you will be carrying out your own contingency planning in light of the developing Coronavirus pandemic and that this will be a worrying time for some. Cornwall Museums Partnership is supporting action to slow the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and as such, is following the latest advice and guidance from Public Health England and the NHS.

Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and the museum community. We have issued guidance to our team and, under the advice of Public Health England and the NHS, are advising anyone with a new persistent cough and/or high temperature, to stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days. We have also advised that anyone with these symptoms need not go to their GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital and they do not need to contact 111 to tell them they’re staying home. We have also advised the team that should their symptoms get worse, or do not clear up after 14-days, that they should continue to stay home and to contact the 111 Coronavirus service for further advice.

We currently have no plans to reschedule any upcoming events, however please keep an eye on our website for the latest information as we reassess the risk in response to changing advice. Wherever possible we will hold meetings remotely to avoid unnecessary contact. If you have a meeting booked with one of our team and would prefer to meet virtually via Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams we are very happy to do this. We would respectfully ask that people with a cold, cough or high temperature do not attend Cornwall Museums Partnership events or meetings. As a precaution we have added to our office and meeting room a cleaning schedule and will be providing hand santiser for all meeting room users.

The Cornwall Museums Partnership office remains open and we are committed to supporting the museums community. With the support of colleagues at What Next? we have compiled the following sources of advice which we hope museum colleagues will find useful:


Coronavirus – Good practice and information for museums


This document contains advice from and has been compiled by the What Next? network. It includes information about local sources of advice in  Cornwall, and sector specific sources of information for museums. It is a live document and will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

Trusted sources of advice

In addition, more information on specific areas can be found here:

Citizen Curators’ work at Royal Cornwall Museum

When Tehmina Goskar, Citizen Curators Programme Leader, delivered a workshop in 2017 at the Tairāwhiti Museum in Gisborne, New Zealand, she met with museum staff, volunteers and stakeholders to talk about her work at Royal Cornwall Museum and to discuss the museum’s collection of taonga Māori.

Tapunga Nepe is Tairāwhiti Museum’s Kaitieki (Curator) of taonga Māori. Ironically he was studying in the UK during Tehmina’s 2017 visit but he heard from colleagues about the items held by Royal Cornwall Museum. The collection comprises various taiaha belonging to mostly unidentified Māori iwi (tribe) but one, possibly two, were remarkable for their association with a Māori leader called Te Kooti, active in wars with the colonising British in the 1860s. One wooden taiaha (TRURI:1500.147) carries a label: ‘carved taiaha, a fine old one, taken from Te Kooti during the East Coast Campaign’.

Te Kooti (c.1832-1899) was an important Māori leader of the Rongowhakaata (a Māori iwi of the Gisborne region). Tapunga, who himself is Rongowhakaata, recently won a scholarship to travel to the UK for six weeks in order to locate, identify, study and honour Rongowhakaata taonga. His desire to examine Te Kooti’s taiaha guaranteed a visit to the RCM and the visit took place 6-8 February 2020.

Tapunga’s first step was to honour the Taonga Māori laid out on tables in the Treffry Gallery. He faced the ancestral objects, extended his arms and began the blessing which my colleagues and I had been invited to observe. It was brief – not more than five minutes. The room was quiet, his voice was hypnotic, and, as we stood there, heads bowed, an image of a group of Māori gathered in a clearing surrounded by dense trees came to my mind. The image vanished as soon as the ceremony ended. Everything was back to normal. This incident made me realise how unsatisfactory it was to simply place objects in cabinets or hang them on walls. Museums needed to find ways and means of bringing them to life.

Tapunga completed his work and we look forward to receiving his findings and updating RCM’s records accordingly. Unfortunately, as is often the case, accession records and provenance of very early acquisitions can be incomplete or even missing. Though labelled as belonging to Te Kooti, no provenance or accession information for the Te Kooti taiaha could be found, nor any indication of how and when it might have arrived at the RCM.

Tapunga’s own research on the taiaha suggested that this was a particularly fine example with distinctive patterns. He also remarked that it was noticeably shorter than the others. The taiaha is a weapon using like a staff and its proportions are usually in relation to the height of the warrior (from foot to chin).

I later found an article from the West Somerset Free Press (23 April 1870) entitled ‘An interview with Te Kooti’ which describes Te Kooti as ‘…about 5’9”…wearing top boots…’. This may suggest that both Te Kooti and the taiaha were on the shorter side compared with others.

As Tapunga left, we promised that we would continue to look for accession information as well as connections between Te Kooti and the RCM no matter how distant. Subsequent research has revealed intriguing connections with various people: Mr. J.D. Enys, a former Royal Institution of Cornwall president (1893-95), the charity which runs Royal Cornwall Museum, also a prolific donor to RCM and closely associated with the collection and distribution of taonga Māori to museums in the UK and New Zealand; Sir John MacLean, another former president of the RIC in the term before Enys (1891-93) and Sir Donald McLean (1820-77) who was heavily involved in the East Coast War and is credited with securing peace through a number of initiatives, including agreeing with the Kingite leaders not to pursue Te Kooti or other fugitives into the King Country, a policy he maintained despite popular outcry.

Further research continues while we await Tapunga’s findings.

-By Tamara Moluch, Royal Cornwall Museum Citizen Curator.

International Women’s Day 2020: Making Waves

‘Behind this massive delivery of the wAVE (AVE = Augmented and Virtual Experiences) project, are three ladies with a passion for Cornwall, heritage and immersive tech.

The project is expected to boost footfall to participating museums by almost 25,000 people per year, create 17 new jobs and generate more than half a million pounds for the economy annually.’

We’re extremely proud to be featured in the latest Business Cornwall mini-series as part of International Women’s Day 2020.

A huge well done and thank you to Emmie Kell and Amy Shakespeare of Cornwall Museums Partnership and Tanya Krzywinska of Falmouth University.


You can read the full article here;

#RDNetwork: Tackling Social Isolation in the Older Generation

During 2020 the Cornwall Museums Partnership Twitter page will be handing the reigns over each month to local organisations where they will be guest hosting our Rural Diversity Networking hour, #RDNetwork.

Through the Rural Diversity Network (RDN) we’re trying to tackle geographic exclusion. Cultural policy around diversity is heavily centred on the visible diversity of big cities. The Network aims to balance this by providing a voice, another view and campaigning for equity. Some of the common aims of the RDN are to create a place for representation and advocacy, to create a place to put diversity into practice, networking with each other and with each other’s organisations to find common cause, and to create a safe space to challenge and be challenged.

Each month during the #RDNetwork, our guest host will help us to tackle a certain topic through questions and conversations. Please follow us on Twitter to keep up to date and to join in these conversations throughout the year.

In January, Age UK Cornwall kindly started the ball rolling so please continue reading to hear all about their experience of our #RDNetwork Twitter Takeover… 




What an honour it was to host the first Rural Diversity Network Twitter Takeover of the new decade. The topic was loneliness in the older generation and Age UK Cornwall were humbled to receive the invitation from the Cornwall Museums Partnership to present this talk.

The questions we decided to ask the #RDNetwork followers were:

  • How do we better support an ageing population?
  • What are the biggest barriers facing you when trying to reach your local community?
  • Is digital technology a good way to reduce social isolation?
  • Share your good and bad experience of loneliness.

We are impressed by Cornwall Museums Partnership’s drive to develop these important conversations for Cornwall and sharing our passion for collaborative efforts to explore common missions.

Loneliness has no bias and can affect anyone at any time.

However, from our experience, we see a lot of signs of loneliness for our clients (50+) who experience barriers to connecting with their community. Our mission is not only to support these individuals to access the services and activities that meet their basic needs, but to help eliminate the loneliness in their lives which involves connecting individuals with their community.



We recognise and would like to thank the Cornwall Museums Partnership for their work to bring heritage and culture to Cornwall through their numerous museum projects. The importance of spaces like this to connect with the community, the arts and the past all factor into combating a sense of feeling alone.



Cornwall Museums Partnership continues to innovate so that people can access their services in many ways and get involved, especially with the help of digital tools. There’s nothing more important than removing these barriers for people. As the below infographic shows, loneliness has far-reaching effects that impact physical and mental well-being.

It is a topic very close to our hearts as an organisation. Our team work hard to tackle social isolation through our many services including The Cornwall Link, a community platform for adults of any age. It helps individuals find out what is happening in their area or the services that will meet their needs so that they can feel better connected. Health and social care professionals across the county, and spanning various job roles, utilise the platform to signpost clients and patients following consultations. The clever customisable search allows users to select from a multitude of categories, health needs, interests and location radius to be matched with service listings. The platform is continually developing to improve the service we offer.

What was great about getting involved with this project is that the Rural Diversity Network mirrors our thoughts around supporting and providing voices for individuals in Cornwall. The #RDNetwork Twitter conversations provide a monthly space for members of the community to discuss the barriers the Cornish public face, but also the successes of individuals and services to meet the needs that are prevalent in this county.

Lee Davies, the Communications Lead for Age UK Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly, took over the Cornwall Museums Partnership’s Twitter profile on our behalf. He said of the experience:

“It was such a privilege to #TakeOver the Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP) Twitter page in late January. By working together, we could reach a wider audience and highlight some of the big questions facing older individuals across Cornwall. Your compassionate responses showed just how many people want to make a difference and improve well-being in their local areas. We aim to work with many more like-minded organisations and better connect people to the Cornish community.”

We would like to thank the many organisations and individuals who promoted the takeover and got involved in the conversations. We were inundated with responses, all of which provided insights into the potential developments and successes of services based in Cornwall, including our own. This talk highlighted how digital can help to connect us as part of holistic solutions, but digital should not develop at the detriment of answering a human need. We recognise the importance of services in Cornwall to connect us, regardless of age, and combat loneliness together. We hope you will help us all on our journey for a more #ConnectedCornwall.


Please share your thoughts on these topics on If you need our support, you can also contact us via the Helpline on 01872 266383.