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Cornwall Museums Partnership

£50,000 Art Fund Grant Supports 3D Costume Digitisation Project at Cornwall Museums Partnership


A clothes rail of colourful historic military costumes at Bodmin Keep

– Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP) has received a £50,000 Respond & Reimagine grant from Art Fund to deliver a new, innovative approach to generating income for museums with the Beyond Digitisation project.

– This partnership project with innovative tech start-up Purpose 3D will produce 3D models of costume collections at three museums – Royal Cornwall Museum, Penlee House Gallery & Museum and Bodmin Keep – to be made available to commercial markets such as the gaming and fashion industries.

– The models will also be used to support innovative and inspirational new methods of interpretation, enabling up-close digital engagement with collections when physically visiting and handling is less possible.

– The project will run for 6 months, starting in December 2020 and running until June 2021.


Respond and Reimagine Grants

A logo of blue text on a white background: 'Art Fund_'

Since the pandemic began, Art Fund has donated £2,250,000 to 67 projects across the UK through its Respond & Reimagine emergency response grants. The grants help museums to adapt and evolve for the challenges posed by the pandemic, from taking their collections online, to making their spaces Covid-safe.

We are pleased to announce that Cornwall Museums Partnership has been awarded a Respond & Reimagine grant to deliver a new, innovative approach to generating income for museums through the Beyond Digitisation project.


Beyond Digitisation: Creating Useful Digital Assets and Sustainable Income Streams

The Beyond Digitisation project aims to unlock the potential of 3D digitisation technology and generate 3D digital assets of the costume collections at Royal Cornwall MuseumPenlee House Gallery & Museum and Bodmin Keep. This breakthrough project will support the museums to transform their approach to digital collections engagement and inspire new methods of interpretation. 3D scans offer more dynamic digital resources than 2D photographs, enhancing the visitor experience by allowing users to zoom, rotate and interact with collections in an engaging way not currently possible.

Verity Anthony, Visitor Experience and Collections Manager at Bodmin Keep says “The Beyond Digitisation project has been a fantastic opportunity to explore the possibilities open to us in using 3D models to bring our collections and Bodmin Keep to life, for education, engagement and interpretation both now and in the future.”

A red and gold military costume on a stand is being photographed with a white screen and lights around it - part of the digitisation capture process at Bodmin Keep.

A military uniform from the collection of Bodmin Keep set up for the 3D digitisation capture process

CMP is partnering on this project with Purpose 3D, an innovative start-up based in Penryn who specialise in the 3D digitisation of vintage and historical clothing for commercial purposes and digital download. Harnessing cutting-edge photogrammetry technology, they produce authentic and realistic 3D models for commercial sectors such as the gaming and fashion industries.

Adam Tindall, co-founder of Purpose 3D, says “We feel very privileged to have such forward thinking institutions such as CMP and the 3 museums we are partnering with on our doorstep and their willingness to embark on a project embracing digital technology. Bringing history to life in 3D is really rewarding and we have been blown away by the depth of collection and history displayed by the museums of Cornwall. Hopefully the work we are doing will help to bring their collections to life, appeal to new and existing visitors and spread the word of the amazing collections and stories that lie in these amazing museums.”

Jeni Woolcock, Collections and Engagement Officer at Royal Cornwall Museum says ‘We are really excited that this project will show our costume collection and let people really get close and see details such as lace, buttons, trimmings and even wear and tear. The collection is very fragile and vulnerable to light, so we aren’t able to display it as often as we’d like. It is the late 19th century trousseau of Edith Williams of Pencalenick. She married Reverend Sidney Cooper on 9th January 1890. Being a clergyman, he lived in a different social position, which might account for why she rarely wore the fashionable and expensive clothes. Their letters and 11 children indicate that they had a happy life. The trousseau passed down to her grandson until he kindly donated it to the museum. We are really pleased that this project has given us the opportunity to show this beautiful collection of fine gowns, day dresses and shoes.’

Four different historic military jackets in their 3d digitised form. All from the costume collection at Bodmin Keep

Digitised 3D models of the costume collection at Bodmin Keep

By bringing historic costume collections to life, the 3D models will make an attractive product for inclusion in digital products. The scans could be developed into military uniforms for a First World War animation, character costumes in a video game, or inspiration in a fashion designer’s studio. Such industries are becoming increasingly concerned with authenticity; for example, Alexander McQueen’s 2020 autumn/winter collection was inspired by the collections and buildings at St Fagan’s National Museum of Welsh History.

Katie Herbert, Curator at Penlee House Gallery & Museum says, “Penlee House Gallery & Museum were thrilled to take part in this project as we have a wonderful collection of Crysede hand block printed silk and linen garments from the 1920s/30s. We don’t have much display space for costume within the museum so being able to have 3D photography of the garments means that we can offer far greater public access to the collection. The collection is extremely popular with fashion and textile students and being able to exhibit them online will provide an invaluable research tool.”

We are incredibly excited about this unique opportunity to create new 3D assets with museums and explore further opportunities to develop sustainable income streams. Beyond the financial and collections impact, successful commercial partnerships offer exciting potential to showcase Cornwall’s museums internationally. If a company with a popular game, film or product incorporates one of our scans this could catapult the museum collection into pop culture in a limitless way.


For further information contact:

Charlotte Morgan, CMP Collaborative Programmes Manager


About CMP:

Cornwall Museums Partnership is an independent charitable incorporated organisation, formed in 2015 to provide leadership for Cornwall’s 70 museums; to support them, represent them and give them a voice. We are a sector-leading charity which is not afraid to think differently. Our values of collaboration, inclusivity and innovation inform everything we do.

Our ambition is to be recognised nationally and internationally as a pioneering model of collaborative leadership which promotes innovation and resilience in the museums’ sector and beyond. We want to shift the dial in terms of the impact and value museums create. By working in partnership with museums, we want to help them to use their collections effectively to foster happy, healthy and prosperous communities where heritage is valued and celebrated.

Cornwall Museums Partnership, Studio 101, Krowji, Redruth, Cornwall, TR15 3GE


About Art Fund:

Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. It provides millions of pounds every year to help museums to acquire and share works of art across the UK, further the professional development of their curators, and inspire more people to visit and enjoy their public programmes. In response to Covid-19 Art Fund has made £2 million in adapted funding available to support museums through reopening and beyond, including Respond and Reimagine grants to help meet immediate need and reimagine future ways of working.

Art Fund is independently funded, supported by the 159,000 members who buy the National Art Pass, who enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic places, 50% off major exhibitions, and receive Art Quarterly magazine. Art Fund also supports museums through its annual prize, Art Fund Museum of the Year. In a unique edition of the prize for 2020, Art Fund responded to the unprecedented challenges that all museums are facing by selecting five winners and increasing the prize money to £200,000. The winners are Aberdeen Art Gallery; Gairloch Museum; Science Museum; South London Gallery; and Towner Eastbourne.


Penlee House Gallery & Museum:

Penlee House Gallery & Museum, owned and operated by Penzance Council, is an award-winning gallery presenting a year-round programme of changing exhibitions featuring the art of West Cornwall from c.1880 to c.1940. The majority of exhibitions focus on the world famous ‘Newlyn School’ and Lamorna artists such as Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes, Walter Langley, Harold Harvey, Lamorna Birch and Laura Knight. Penlee House also features the archaeology and social history of the area including Crysede fabrics and Newlyn Copper. Set within an elegant Victorian house and park, the building is fully accessible and has an excellent café and shop.

Visit or call 01736 363625 for details.


Royal Cornwall Museum:

At the very heart of Cornwall and its cultural life, the Royal Cornwall Museum is a centre of exploration and learning. Using our eclectic collections of Cornish culture, art, antiquities, science, minerals and natural history we take people on a journey from Cornwall deep into the ground, up into the sky, around the world and way back in time, and we use our collections to help our communities look forward together.

We aim to provide a welcoming, dynamic, and lively cultural hub centred around our collections. We are a charity that does not receive regular funding. Public support through donations and visitor income is vital to our success. We are grateful for the support provided by grants from Arts Council England through Cornwall Museums Partnership, Cornwall Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


Bodmin Keep:

Bodmin Keep is the historic home of the Army in Cornwall. Home to the collections of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (DCLI) and the Light Infantry, the historic depot of the DCLI houses collections from 1702 to 2007. From uniforms to weapons, and medals to memorabilia, the collection offers a glimpse into the lives of the soldiers and their families, the places they visited and the campaigns in which they fought. As an independent registered charity, we rely on income from visitors, donations and grants to continue to grow and thrive in to the future. The support of our funders including the Arts Council and National Heritage Lottery Fund is invaluable to the work we do, presenting our soldiers’ pasts for our future.


You can view this press release as a PDF here: Beyond-Digitisation-Art-Fund-PR

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