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.

Trainee Curators Programme – Diversifying the Cultural Workforce in Cornish Museums

Claire English is an imaginative curator and collaborator with experience in exhibition production, workshops, events and management. Working with five Trainee Curators hosted at 4 museums across Cornwall, Claire has designed a Trainee Curators programme alongside Cornwall Museums Partnership, and is delivering a series of study visits to museums and historical sites in Cornwall and London, specialist talks from curators and museum professionals, peer network meetings, curatorial tasks and 121’s.

The Trainee Curators programme was set up to diversify the cultural workforce in Cornish museums and historical sites by offering more accessible opportunities to young people. In turn, diversifying the museums audiences and using their collections more widely.

Coming into the project with the funding in place, Claire designed a programme to equip the Trainee Curators with an understanding of the cultural terrain, locally and globally. With study trips to museums in Cornwall and London, the trainees will introduce themselves to museum and heritage professionals, working locally and on an international level.

Each host has very generously explained their specialisms and research and contextualised their approach to curating through their collection, historical site and exhibitions. They all took the trainees behind the scenes and explained conservation considerations and now connect the trainees to their specialist networks. Every museum has a different structure with challenges and opportunities and these trips will have given the trainees a fantastic grounding for their future careers.

Claire said, ‘what has been wonderful to watch is the peer support the trainees offer each other through individual challenges – I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the project!’

Celine Elliott, Engagement Lead of Cornwall Museums Partnership said; ‘the trip to London was inspiring on many levels: from the generous input of the museum staff we spent time with to the intelligent and thought-provoking responses of the trainee curators. Everyone learnt new things and I think will all be reflecting on the exhibits we saw and the strategies that were shared for a long time to come. Personal highlights include an incomparable black history tour of the Natural History Museum led by Miranda Lowe at as well as a look around the museum’s Spirit Store with Patrick Campbell which I doubt anyone will forget! It’s exciting to think of how this visit will undoubtedly continue to influence the development of the trainee curators and I am looking forward to seeing what they produce.’

Read on to hear from 4 of our Trainee Curators on their current experiences within their museum, and what they took from their most recent study trip to London.

‘My first month as a Trainee Curator has been great so far; there seems to be a feeling of genuine excitement about the programme from each of our host museums and Cornwall Museums Partnership which fosters a strong sense of support, which is really useful to someone at the start of their career. I also enjoy encouragement and focus on training as it feels like such an excellent opportunity to develop skills, expertise and interests. I look forward to the next 8 months!

The London trip was very interesting; it highlighted the stark contrast between regional and national museums in terms of training opportunities, project times and infrastructure. The takeaway was that Cornwall museums actually seem to be ahead of the game in terms of training their staff and encouraging us to be the best we can be. I loved getting to look behind the scenes at the bigger museums though, and the wealth and sheer number of collections was astonishing. Overall, it was a trip that was fun but informative and gave us a good idea about what we can expect from the industry in larger organisations, perhaps later in our careers – but it also strengthened my feeling of being lucky and grateful to have this opportunity to start my career in a regional Cornish museum and to get as much training and support at the start of my career that I can.’  Siân Powell, Wheal Martyn Clay Works


‘Only a month into my Traineeship at Bodmin Keep and I’ve already gotten involved with so many different aspects of curatorial work. I have been undertaking research for future displays, arranging artwork loans for an upcoming temporary exhibition, giving public talks and tours, collaborating on digital projects, and getting hands-on with the collections. It has been fascinating getting to know the organisational structure here at the museum and what the forward plans are to improve the building and develop our audiences. I have been given so many opportunities to pursue my personal interests and tailor my internship to suit my own professional development. It has also been wonderful getting to know the other interns on the programme and supporting each other’s progress at our peer network meetings.

Our trip to London, organised by Cornwall Museums Partnership, was such a fun experience. It was brilliant to be given ‘behind the scenes’ tours of some of London’s national museums. I particularly enjoyed the black history tour of the Natural History Museum, given by Miranda Lowe. It was interesting to hear how she is uncovering hidden histories and challenging the ‘neutrality’ of museums. I also enjoyed the presentations given to us by the curators of the new Second World War and Holocaust galleries, and the curator of the upcoming Refugees exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. Hearing how they curate traumatic histories in a sensitive and empathetic way was enlightening. Their insight will be invaluable as I develop my own displays at Bodmin Keep which confront difficult issues which have arisen from war and conflict.’ Sarah Waite, Bodmin Keep

‘During my first month as a trainee curator at the Museum of Cornish Life, I have learnt a huge amount about the heritage sector. From giving tours to handling collections, I have completed a range of tasks and gained an invaluable insight into daily museum operations. My favourite task so far involved giving a virtual tour of our exhibition “Fictitious Cornwall” to residents of a care home. As many people are unable to access museums physically, it felt very important to be able to take our collection digitally to the care home residents.

Last week the Trainee Curators visited the V&A, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of London and the Imperial War Museum. We spoke to several curators about their work and it was interesting to hear about the differences between operations in regional and national institutions. The highlight of the trip was looking behind the scenes at the Natural History Museum. We were given a tour of the laboratories where I found a barracuda which had washed up 6 miles off the Lizard Peninsula. It made me feel very much at home!’ Rachel Haddy, Museum of Cornish Life


‘My internship so far has been great – Bodmin Keep has such a welcoming staff and environment and there’s always plenty to learn. I’ve done weapons handling and object talks, assisted with reorganising the collections store, gently cleaned artefacts and improved museum catalogue records. This is one of my favourite jobs, as I enjoy leaving the database better than we found it – it’s satisfying detective work! In London we visited four museums in two days, which was a whirlwind of information. It was so interesting to hear about the extensive planning involved in national museum exhibitions, sometimes as much as 10 years in the making. They seemed envious of our flexibility in smaller museums! Seeing the spirit collections at the Natural History Museum was incredible, as they have to be preserved in such different ways to our shelf stable objects. The star object for me was the giant squid, nearly 9m long, in an enormous case that spanned the storeroom.’ Katie Sawyer, Bodmin Keep 

Immersive Technology: Accessibility In Mind

wAVE Digital Project Administrator Apprentice, Ellie Smith, talks about voice control, day-to-day immersive technology, accessibility and virtual reality in her latest blog. Scroll down to read more on what she has to say.

If, like me, you’ve gone to the park in the pouring rain with your Pokémon Go app to catch Pikachu, or asked Alexa to play Beyoncé while you’re getting ready for work, then you’re one of the billions of people who use immersive technology everyday.

Now, as we welcome a new decade, the potential for immersive tech continues to grow. Bossing a digital voice assistant like Alexa around can make some of life’s small nuisances easier for an able-bodied person; mumbling “Alexa, turn the lights off,” when you’re too cosy to get out of bed or telling Google to put The Great British Bake Off on when you can’t find the remote for example! It’s estimated that 8 billion digital voice assistants will be in use by 2023. Clearly voice user interface (VUI) technology is going to become an increasingly commonplace part of many people’s lives.

What this really means is that people can now use their voice to control computers instead of a mouse or touch screen. A whole world of digital interaction is opened up to people with visual impairments and physical disabilities. Chatbots are, quite literally, opening doors. People are now able to use chatbots to control mechanisms throughout their home – this may be the back door opening when the dog barks or having the ability to adjust the heating with a verbal command. The capabilities of VUIs allows people with varying accessibility needs to further their independence just by using their voice.

We can also look to virtual reality (VR) to create a more accessible world. VR experiences can simulate access to spaces which may be otherwise inaccessible. Here in Cornwall, heritage site Geevor Tin Mine has created a 3D VR tour which has been developed alongside Heritage Ability and Soundview Media. Visitors who can’t physically access the underground part of the site will be able to access the space with a VR headset, an experience which is “as close to an actual tour as possible without it being the real thing.”

(3D VR Accessibility at Geevor Tin Mine. Image Accessed:

VR is also being used to provide support for people with developmental disabilities, such as autism, to create an environment where people can safely gain an idea of what a space is like. Organisations can also make their sites more inclusive for people with physical accessibility needs by creating a 3D map of their site, with information about accessible routes and toilets, to ensure that disabled visitors are able to navigate the space comfortably. A company that advocates for immersive accessibility is Ocean3D™, which became the first business in the world without a physical premises to be awarded the National Autistic Society ‘Autism Friendly’ award.

At Cornwall Museums Partnership we champion accessibility and inclusivity. Working on the wAVE project has introduced me to the potential immersive technology has to make the world a more inclusive place. Though it is clear there is not one type of ‘immersive solution’ that generates accessibility for everyone, it is important that the capabilities of this technology are adopted by organisations around the world. As part of the wAVE project we are providing free immersive digital skills sessions across Cornwall, to help organisations create accessible and open environments for all of their customers. This may be learning about opening your space through 3D photography scanning with Ocean3D or the potential of immersive marketing with Soundview Media.

The growth of immersive technology shows no signs of stopping, and I hope the focus on accessibility continues to grow with it. Immersive technology is incredibly fun, but it can also provide greater freedom for so many people who live in a world designed without them in mind.


Ellie Smith

wAVE Digital Project Administrator Apprentice



Apprentice Youth Worker – Carefree, Redruth


Apprentice Youth Worker


Terms:    30 hours per week

Job Purpose:    To work with Carefree and Cornwall Museums Partnership to promote access to museums and culture as part of supporting Carefree in its delivery of youth work. To enable young people in and leaving care to do things for themselves and others. To work with young people in and leaving care, promote positive emotional health and well-being and represent their views to others.

Reports to:    Line manager

Key Relationships:   

  • Young people in and leaving care
  • Staff and volunteers for Carefree
  • Foster carers, Social workers, key workers for young people
  • Key partners – including Cornwall Museums Partnership

Main Tasks:

  • To ensure that the organisation is meeting the needs of young people in care by involving them in all aspects of Carefree’s work
  • To undertake relevant training and accreditation as appropriate, including an Apprenticeship pathway in Youth Work level 2 or 3.
  • To work alongside the youth work team to deliver positive activities for young people in and leaving care.
  • To support the positive emotional health and well-being of young people in and leaving care.
  • To work with Carefree and Cornwall Museums Partnership to support young people to access museums and culture and to promote the new culture card which gives free access to museums.
  • To gain experience both as a youth worker at carefree and working within a museum environment for example; front of house reception work or helping with collections and curation.
  • To use own care experience, when appropriate and with the necessary support, to role model positive outcomes to other young people
  • To support the improvement of Care leaving services across Cornwall
  • To represent Carefree at national events, with appropriate support.
  • To study for a level 2 or 3 qualification in Youth Work


Terms of employment

Salary:    £ 8.33 per hour. Pension contributions matched at up to 5% of salary.

Contract:    30 hours (7 of which will be study hours) on a variable basis with some emphasis on holidays weekends and evenings.

Expenses:    All agreed expenses incurred in carrying out the work will be reimbursed. Car mileage from the office to work places can be claimed at 40p per mile, or second-class rail travel.

Notice period:    One month on either side.

Location:    Based at Carefree, Clinton Passage Redruth (with positive activities being delivered at a range of activity and youth centres across Cornwall)


How to Apply

All applications should be sent to by midday on Thursday 6 February 2020.

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 11 February 2020 at Carefree, Redruth.

All workers are subject to a Disclosure and Barring Check

Application Form

Cultural Heritage Drives Environmental Sustainability

There are more than 70 museums in Cornwall of great variety and individuality, including; art galleries, castles, mines, historic properties, industrial heritage sites and tiny community museums. Many more collections are held in community archives. Cornwall’s diverse heritage organisations offer something unique and special, they provide fantastic services for their communities and achieve high standards.

Cornwall Museums Partnership and SW Museum Development recognise the excellence within these organisations and want to reward the wonderful work you do and share your achievements through our Cornwall Heritage Awards 2020.

In this guest blog, we hear a little from one of our award sponsors, Tevi…

Building on last year’s successful partnership, Tevi is delighted to be sponsoring the Environment and Circular Economy category at the forthcoming Cornwall Heritage Awards. This time around, enterprises that apply for the award will also benefit from additional support by way of an invitation to join an exclusive workshop in the spring, jointly led by Tevi and Cornwall Museums Partnership, aiming to foster business success by diversifying audiences through sustainability initiatives.

Connecting Cornwall to Sustainable Development Goals

Tevi continues to support cultural heritage and creative industry initiatives because they lie at the heart of both circular economy and environmental growth, the programme’s key drivers. A circular economy designs waste out of the economy, including thinking more carefully about how we use our resources for creative and cultural ventures. Environmental growth, on the other hand, is a concept enshrined in a long-term Cornwall Council strategy, committing the county to increased available natural habitat, including green spaces and forests as well as the species that live there, as it continues to develop its economy and infrastructure.

Heritage sites and creative ventures, which are so vital for Cornwall’s cultural, social and mental well-being, are a key indicator for the county’s status within global sustainable development initiatives. Enshrined within Sustainable Development Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, heritage is seen as a driver and enabler of sustainability. In addition to the widely documented social and other non-monetized benefits, this relationship is particularly salient within the cultural sector’s contribution to the global economy and poverty alleviation, with cultural heritage, cultural and creative industries, sustainable cultural tourism and cultural infrastructure all providing means of generating income. The growth rate of the cultural and creative industries worldwide reflects potentially highly sustainable economic opportunities, in particular in emerging economic regions such as the Middle East (17.6%), Africa (13.9%) or South America (11.9%).

People, place and planet

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s rich cultural heritage has been built from the ground up, a product of the 19th-century mining boom that featured over 400 active mines across the county. Today, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site recognises this unique history on a local level. Cornwall’s mining heritage has also had a massive global impact, both socially, with over 6 million people around the world estimated to be descendants of Cornish miners, and in terms of infrastructure, with Cornish engine houses found as far away as Mexico and Australia.

Cornwall also has a particularly strong track record in the creative industries, where recent data show that the number of creative enterprises has grown by 41% to 1,400 since 2011. In this context, it is clear why Creative, Tourism, Mining, and Location are featured as four of the ten key sectors put forward by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with the potential to play a critical role in growing the county’s economy now and in the future.

Tevi’s contributions within the cultural heritage and creative sectors, therefore, have the potential to unlock progress towards the holy grail of sustainability; namely, to connect people, place and planet. Whether we are helping creative practitioners find by-products from other industries for use as novel and innovative materials, or supporting museums to reduce their waste or to increase their customer base by going plastic-free or simply by facilitating conversations between Cornwall’s rich patchwork of stakeholders, the Tevi team looks forward to continuing its successful relationship with Cornwall Museums Partnership.

Tevi is led by the University of Exeter in partnership with Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Council and the Cornwall Development Company. One of the main aims of the programme is to deliver Cornwall Council’s Environmental Growth Strategy 2015-2065, which argues that the health of the county’s long-term economy relies on a thriving environment.

For more information, please email Manager Edvard Glücksman at