In this new blog series, join our Museum Development Officer, Stephanie Clemens, as she travels around the Duchy delivering some much-awaited certificates and plaques to the winners of the 2020 Cornwall Heritage Awards! Following our virtual awards ceremony in October we are thrilled to now be able to deliver these awards to their recipients in person this Summer. Buckle up and join us for the road trip…
We really couldn’t have picked a better day for me and Jody to head off up the Atlantic Highway on our second leg of the Heritage Awards trophy drop – the weather was gorgeous, and we were very excited to be out on the road.
Our first stop was Padstow Museum, to present the award for Object of the Year. This award is the only one voted for by the public, so the competition between the eight finalists was pretty stiff – you can read more about each one here. The ‘mounted horseman’ roof tiles captured the public imagination and galloped to victory (pun intended). Probably dating from the 15th century, these horsemen perch upon roof tiles originally above the Market Place. They were a sign to travellers of a site where they could have a change of horses. Tradition says that when the church clock strikes midnight, the horsemen descend to gallop around the Market Square.
They have a little further to gallop now that the museum is situated at Station House, having undergone a fantastic redevelopment in 2018. The museum is completely run by volunteers and is currently closed for their safety until September. So, it was all the more special for me and Jody to meet up with Daphne, George, and John for a sneaky look around. Had the mounted horsemen not won object of the year, there were plenty of other objects that could have taken the title, from the ‘Obby ‘Oss masks to a historic lifebelt to a magnificent soda machine. So many treasures all in one small room – that is the joy of our community museums. This was a fabulous start to our day, and we carried on up the A39.
Our next stop was The Castle Heritage Centre, Bude, who also had a shortlisted Object of the Year – the Bude fish. In 1932 the remains of a fossil fish were discovered in the Bude rock formation. It was classified as a new species and named ‘Cornuboniscus Budensis’ in recognition of where it was found. It was roughly the size of a sardine and had razor sharp teeth a bit like a piranha. It now has its own highly commended certificate to join the growing collection of Heritage Awards.
The Castle was the winner of the Contribution to the Environment and Circular Economy Award sponsored by Tevi. It was a pleasure to finally meet with Janine and hand over this well-deserved trophy. The museum has been committed to green initiatives for some time – starting 14 years ago with a large display about how long man-made materials washed up on the beach can take to biodegrade. Since 2014 Bude-Stratton Town Council, who own the Castle, have supported support A Greener Bude. This group works tirelessly to bring together like-minded people and organisations to come together to make Bude the greenest town in the UK. The museum has been leading on introducing green alternatives and communicating the importance of environmental sustainability. Janine has been a fantastic advocate for sustainable practice in museums and presented to the Museums Association Conference in 2019, putting both Cornwall and Bude at the centre of conversation on the climate crisis.
After a very pleasant lunch on the beach, a quick stroll and an ice cream, we headed back down the coast to Newquay for our final delivery. It’s probably easier to list the awards Newquay Heritage Archive & Museum weren’t shortlisted for or didn’t win because we arrived with quite an armful.
First up was the One to Watch Award, a new category for 2020 which recognises the achievements and commitment of young volunteers in museums in Cornwall, and kindly sponsored by PH Media. Most museums rely heavily if not entirely on dedicated volunteers, and a brilliant group of them are aged 25 or younger. It can’t be stressed enough how thankful we are that young people generously give their time to museums and bring in a whole new set of skills and fresh perspectives. All the young people who were entered into this category are superstars, but Will Emmett won the award with a combination of skills and enthusiasm that has made a continued impact at Newquay Museum. Will has used his IT skills across a range of digital projects: colourising and cleaning up digital historic images, film editing to help launch the museum’s YouTube channel, contributing to social media, and maintenance of the museum’s IT systems. He’s also integrated wonderfully into the existing volunteer team, who value his enthusiasm and his opinions. It was a pleasure to meet Will and to see that he continues to volunteer at the museum. Along with congratulations, we wish him well with his studies and look forward to seeing future content from the museum.
We were also able to present Len and Will with a whole raft of certificates, reflecting the number and quality of entries Newquay Heritage Archive & Museum made to the Heritage Awards. In addition to Will’s win, the museum was highly commended in the Innovation, Best Exhibition and Environmental categories, and their mineral spar tower was shortlisted for Object of the Year. For this reason, the museum was awarded the Judges’ Special trophy, as recognition of the sheer volume and diversity of their work and the dedication and drive of their whole team of volunteers. The museum covers all bases, from green initiatives to inclusivity to digital engagement. The team takes risks and tries new things. There’s nothing small about this small museum. Congratulations to all, meur ras for your inspiring hard work, and I’m sure we’ll see you at the next Heritage Awards.
Three museum visits in one beautiful day was such a treat, and we’re still not quite finished delivering trophies. The road trip will continue, and our next destination is the far west.
– Stephanie Clemens, Museum Development Officer
Bude Photo Credits: Mark Berridge