Rehanging Week at Penlee House

This week is rehanging week at Penlee House. Time is precious and there is so much to be done in just one week ready to open the doors for another wonderful exhibition.

We were led by Katie Herbert, Deputy Director and Curator at Penlee House who very kindly gave up some of her busy schedule to talk us through what happens in the rehanging week and show us the tools and routines.

This week’s rehanging involved Galleries 2, 3, 4 and 5 plus the museum because over the Christmas season Gallery 1 is Penlee House’s annual selling exhibition of work by ‘Cornwall Crafts’ with a wealth of handmade pieces by some of our craftspeople.

24th November is the start of the fourth exhibition of ‘Penlee Inspired’. Exhibiting contemporary local talent.  Katie told us that there had been 110+ applications and the staff had to carefully select pieces that showed technical ability and a direct link to the exhibitions and its works.

We entered gallery 2 and immediately felt a difference in the atmosphere. The gallery is normally a spacious void with only a small table/bench in the centre surrounded by beautiful paintings on the walls. The calm serenity had been disrupted with trolleys, tools, materials, packaging and frames cluttering the floors. The walls were bare except for the few famous paintings that had already been hung depicting the inspirations for the works entered for the exhibition.

Katie was in the process of positioning the entries around the base of their relevant walls where they would be shown alongside the original paintings.

Richard (Technical Officer) and David (Visitor Services and Security Officer) were busy sorting which fixings to use to display the works.  Richard makes the mounts and frames for some works if necessary.

The complex process is completed in one week. The galleries are refurbished and on the opening of the new exhibition all galleries look pristine.

It all starts on Sunday, when Gallery 5 is changed-over first so that the public can visit the museum and gallery 5, whilst the other galleries are closed for rehanging.

The hectic week commences with dedication and expertise.

Monday: The paintings are taken down, each work is carefully checked by Katie with the checklist to ensure no damage has occurred during their time on display.  The works are packed up safely in their relevant boxes or crates depending on size and returned to their owners or to the racks in our stores.  Forward planning is required to arrange transport and insurance.  Gloves are worn throughout the process to protect the paintings and works.

Tuesday: Continuing with the packing and checking. Then Katie decides where the new paintings and works will be placed. Screw holes have to be filled and any marks on the walls repainted.

Wednesday:  The new incoming paintings and works arrive, Katie arranged the transportation and took out indemnity insurance three months in advance.  The paintings are carefully unpacked and Katie condition checks them, examining each one in minute detail with the checking list, recording any existing damage or unstable areas of paint. This includes the frames.  Larger galleries that have loaned their paintings to Penlee have a completed check list which Katie can verify and add to if necessary. The packaging is then stored ready for packing up after the exhibition.  If time permits laying out the paintings for display can start.

Thursday: Laying out the exhibition, the works are placed on dense sponge blocks around the walls where they will be displayed. During this process the paintings are very vulnerable which is why the gallery is closed for security, safety and insurance purposes.  Katie positions each painting to work in harmony with those around it.  The overall layout needs to make sense both visually and intellectually while enticing the visitor around.  The ‘Penlee Inspired’ exhibition needed extra thought, choosing the right sized walls to accommodate the original works and compliment the inspired creations. Next comes the hanging of the works. With the strong arms of David and Richard holding up the paintings following Katie’s instructions for placement. All pictures must be securely fixed to the wall either using mirror plates or specially sourced Museum fittings. After which, the lighting is set up and adjusted including taking light readings to ensure that the works are at approved ‘lux’ levels to avoid light damage.

Friday: Continues from Thursday. Cabinets and any other furniture have been positioned. Masking tape is painted the same colour as the walls to cover the mirror plates and brackets.  The typed descriptive labels are positioned by the paintings and works.  Barriers are put in place, which just leaves the tidying up sweeping the floors.

Then our exhausted staff arrange the reception for Open Evening, setting out the refreshments and glasses. The shop has been arranged with books portraying the current Artist. The microphone is set up for the guest’s opening introductory talk.  The doors open, it’s time to relax or collapse and enjoy the compliments from the audience eager to view the new exhibition.

As Citizen Curators, we wondered how we could help with the rehanging, doing the mundane jobs that take time. Painting the masking tape before it covers the fixings, sorting out fixings, maybe checking the paintings off with the checklists or helping with the unpacking.  Bearing in mind that sometimes it is safer to have a few people around the precious paintings and may not be a case of many hands make light work.

– Hazel Smith, Citzen Curator at Penlee House Art Gallery and Museum

NPO Apprentices and Intern Network

Two things I’ve not done before: hosted an event and wrote a blog about hosting an event. But there’s a first for everything and I always believe that the only way you’ll get better at something is by doing it. To put this into context, I was tasked with organising and hosting a networking event for all of the apprentices and interns within the NPO programme. The idea was to establish good communication links between everyone, as we all are linked with the work we do but most of us had never met each other.

My event was small, a two-hour session with nine of us, but behind those two hours was a lot of preparation and a whole lot of learning. Thankfully the group was amazing, my biggest fear was not filling the time but we ended up over-running. The session itself was great from my point of view, everyone got involved and considering hardly any of us had met beforehand it didn’t feel that way at all. It was great hearing about everyone’s workplace projects, and I tried to keep the session relaxed to encourage more free conversation. Sam Jackman from Cultivator joined us halfway through, and it was great having her expertise in the room. She provided that knowledge that I didn’t have, which led to more in-depth conversation. Overall everything went amazingly (from my point of view at least) and I look forward to the next!

– Kai Caban, Business Administration Apprentice

Impact and Partnership Development Manager (Culture) – University of Exeter

Closing date: 2 January 2019

This part-time (0.5 FTE) fixed term post is available from 7th January until 28th June 2019.

Location: Cornwall

Salary: The starting salary will be from £34,211 up to £39,609 on Grade F, depending on qualifications and experience.

Package: Generous holiday allowances, flexible working, pension scheme and relocation package (if applicable)

The University of Exeter is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities.  They combine world-class teaching with world-class research, and have achieved a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework Award 2017. The University of Exeter has over 22,000 students and 4600 staff from 180 different countries and has been rated the WhatUni 2017 International Student Choice. Their research focuses on some of the most fundamental issues facing humankind today, with 98% of their research rated as being of international quality in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. They encourage proactive engagement with industry, business and community partners to enhance the impact of research and education and improve the employability of their students.

They are seeking to recruit an experienced manager with expertise in heritage, culture and arts. They will work within the Innovation, Impact and Business Department as part of the Regional Impact and Innovation Team based at our Penryn Campus.

The post holder will focus on generating opportunities, bringing these to fruition and managing a portfolio of projects within the Regional Team and lead innovation and impact work with the sub-theme of Arts across all university campuses.

Your key role will be to support impact development; facilitate collaborations with industry and government organisations; manage relationships with key partners; and deliver other forms of income from businesses, external partners and regional funding. You will represent the Directorate and University in both internal and external interactions and will use your negotiation and influencing skills to network, nurture existing relationships and develop new ones. Knowledge of economic development plus EU and research funding would also be an advantage.

Some of the key work strands of work will include:

– Support four Culture Impact Case Studies in preparation for REF2021 submission

-Develop our offer to the Cultural and Creative Economy sector in Cornwall identifying partnership and income opportunities

-Managing key relationships in the Culture and Creative sector in Cornwall particularly with the Cornwall Museums Partnership and Local Enterprise Partnerships

-Work closely with the Arts & Culture team to deliver the strategy in Cornwall

– Line manage project officer working on employer-led skills project to assist businesses in Cornwall and IoS to work in new cultures and languages

The role is based on our Cornwall campus, however travel both regionally and nationally may be expected. The postholder will be skilled in handling a large workload and working collaboratively with colleagues to provide an efficient and valuable service to customers.

To apply, click here and search ‘Impact’

Culture and Creative Industries Manager – Cornwall Council

Hours per week: 37

Job Type/Contract type: Permanent

Interview Date: 16 January 2019

Closing Date: 2 January 2019

Salary Range: £45,999 – £55,254 


Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has long tradition of culture expression, with the arts and our rich culture heritage underpinning the creative and visitor economy. Now propelled by digital connectivity and content we also have a high-growth creative sector which has seen the number of creative firms in the region increase by 26% from 2011 to 2015. By 2025 the creative industries will be worth £128bn nationally.

Cornwall Council are looking for a Culture and Creative Industries Manager to embrace and advocating for our distinctive offer through the strategic leadership of culture and creative industries policy. This includes development, implementation and delivery of the Culture Strategy for Cornwall, sectoral development for creative industries and ourcreative-tech cluster as well as the strategic and general management of the team; which also includes arts and museum development, the World Heritage Site Partnership, the Archives and Records Service and the Cornish Language Unit.

The post holder will be the Council’s lead professional for culture and creative industries, responding to communities’ ambitions and aspirations and working with stakeholders, partners and businesses to deliver relevant services, programmes and projects, growing the sector to create of high value jobs, maintaining our competitive advantage of world class arts provision and digital content and encouraging cultural and economic inclusion.

They are looking for an individual with a collaborative and agile approach able to use their influence, powers, creativity and abilities to develop and support cultural and creative industries investments and proposals to create attractive, prosperous and safe communities and drive economic growth.

This post is politically restricted under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

Cornwall Council is committed to safeguarding and is an equal opportunities employer.

More information about working for Cornwall Council is available here

About you

The post holder will have:

– Relevant degree level qualification or equivalent, and evidence of continuous professional development
– Excellent knowledge of the culture and creative industries sector and opportunities in Cornwall
– Excellent understanding of how the cultural sector and the Cornwall’s cultural assets in particular contribute to the Council’s aims and objectives, as well as the CIoS Strategic Economic Plan and 10 Opportunities
–  Excellent knowledge and direct experience of funding programmes with relation to developing cultural assets and proven ability to develop successful funding bids, especially to Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, ERDF, Growth Deal, trusts and foundations
– Thorough understanding of key regional and national agendas, strategies and research relating to the cultural sector and creative economy
– Experience of successful budget management within tight financial limits in a complex organisation
– Excellent interpersonal and partnership engagement skills and ability to  increase sector collaboration
– Successful track record of achieving equality of opportunity
– High level of experience in managing all aspects of an operational cultural service including major project development, contract management and staffing.

Click here to apply

Judge’s Special Award Winners 2018 – Lostwithiel Museum

Lostwithiel Museum was presented with the Judge’s Special Award in recognition of their pro-active approach and for the many creative projects they have done over the previous year such as their fabulous sponsored window displays, fundraising photography calendar and for their engaging family activities. They are a small museum that achieve a lot.

Applications for 2019’s Heritage Awards are open until 14 December 2018. To find out more and how to apply click here.

Heritage Heroes Award Winners 2018

Newquay Old Cornwall Society Museum

The Newquay Old Cornwall Society archaeology group work tirelessly to care for the ancient archaeological site around Newquay. Never afraid of hard work, or poor weather they work throughout the year undertaking site monitoring, clearance, provide guided tours and walks and conservation care for the ancient sites.

Trustee Vacancy – Museum of Cornish Life

The Museum of Cornish Life has been serving the town of Helston and the larger surrounding area since 1949 and is managed by South Kerrier Heritage Trust, (Charity Number 1151834).

The trustees have important responsibilities and we are looking for new trustees with the vision to help us realise our future development plans. They must be passionate about ensuring that this much-loved museum attracts wide-ranging audiences and continues to contribute to the region’s culture and economy. Most of all, they are interested in individuals who can think strategically, be ambitious, and see the big picture. This as a voluntary post.

They are particularly looking for people with experience and skills in the following areas: finance, basic secretarial/minute taker, legal knowledge, or education. However if you just have a strong desire to help the Museum they would still like to hear from you. Previous experience of being a trustee, or within a charity is not required and a full induction to the role is offered. They meet monthly.

This is an opportunity to join the museum at an exciting point in its history and a chance for the successful applicants to utilise their experience and skills to help shape its future development.

To find out more about the museum and the role, or for an informal chat,  please contact Judith Haycock, Chair of Trustees on 01326 563870 or email

Alternatively application forms are available from the Museum of Cornish Life email

Closing date: Saturday 15th December 2018

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.’