A Day in the Life Blog: Natalie Chapman, Marketing Intern

Welcome to our blog series, ‘A Day in the Life…’ which features a member of the CMP team and what they get up to on a typical day at work. This time we’re featuring Natalie, a recent addition to the team as Marketing Intern. Read on for more about how Natalie has found her first few months at Cornwall Museums Partnership.

Natalie at University; Clare College, Cambridge

After a long month sat at home during lockdown 2.0 eagerly anticipating the start of my first full time job, I was equal parts nervous and excited to join the CMP team at the beginning of December. Earlier in the year I had completed my BA in Classics at the University of Cambridge during the first lockdown, meaning sadly I graduated remotely from my living room sofa without getting to say goodbye to the city and friends I had come to love! Needless to say, I was ready for a fresh start and this internship at CMP was the perfect opportunity for me to begin my working career (and 2021) with some positivity.

My first week in the office rushed by in a whirlwind of zoom meetings, introductions to the team and getting my head around CMP’s staggering number of partners and projects! It’s fair to say I was rather overwhelmed at first, especially as only myself and my line manager Jody were coming into the office, meaning I have only met most of the team remotely. Now of course, with the start of the third lockdown, I too am working from home full time – a prospect I would have found incredibly daunting without those initial two weeks in the office beforehand!

My role as Marketing Intern covers a wide array of duties, but I primarily spend my time running the CMP social media channels – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I have taken over the reins on this from Jody, who has been so generous with her time in showing me the ropes, especially when it comes to using social media from a business perspective – the inner workings of analytics, hashtag audits and paid promotions have been a real learning curve for me. One of my first tasks was to create a six-week social media content planner, full of ideas for future content for me to create and schedule in advance. My favourite part of this process is definitely designing graphics on Canva – I love anything creative, so this kind of work feels more like play to me! Currently I’m planning a number of exciting social media collaborations, including a takeover with Queer Kernow to mark LGBT+ History Month coming up in February!

A WFH creative Canva session; Natalie’s photograph of a Falmouth sunrise

Aside from social media, I also regularly update the CMP website; send out monthly newsletters and produce fortnightly blogs. Thus, my typical day at work is comprised of scrolling and re-sharing on social media, copywriting, hilarious zoom team meetings, copious amounts of tea and scheduling on Tweetdeck. Now that I’m working from home I also like to take a daily nature walk to clear my head – the best time for this is golden hour so I can catch the beautiful Falmouth sunrise! After nearly two months, I have already come to love this role, which grants me the privilege of communicating to the world all the amazing work that CMP undertakes and the huge impact our charity has.

Looking back, the highlight of my CMP experience so far has got to be the staff Christmas lunch – although we couldn’t celebrate as normal this year, each member of the team received a beautiful Cornish hamper full of goodies to enjoy over a zoom lunch together, complete with festive jumpers, Christmas quiz and secret Santa presents!

The CMP 2020 Christmas lunch

Now that my training and introductory period is out of the way, I’m eager to get stuck into this role and grow as much as possible over the next 7 months – there are so many opportunities for learning from my amazing team members and CMP’s partner projects! I’m particularly looking forward to observing the Citizen Curators scheme, assisting Jody with the CMP re-brand and helping out with our Black Voices for Cornwall collaboration – plus hopefully I’ll actually be able to visit our partner museums in the Spring!

If you’d like to get in touch I’m always open to suggestions for content (be it for the CMP social media channels, newsletter or blog) and collaborations so feel free to contact me at: natalie@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk.

 

– Natalie Chapman, Marketing Intern

Maps that Matter: Carefree x RCM x CMP

In the autumn of 2020, CMP supported Carefree Cornwall to deliver a project exploring maps and identity, working with the collection of Royal Cornwall Museum and children in care. Thanks to Shout Out Loud, part of English Heritage, the project was one of 14 funded nationally through the Reverberate scheme, which aims to “explore the places, voices and activities that make local heritage unique, engaging critically and creatively with the past to create a broader view of what heritage is and who owns it”.

The ‘Maps that Matter’ project started out by questioning what ‘heritage’ meant, before using objects and art works from Royal Cornwall Museum to develop and create artwork made by the young people.

A small group initially met online with Annie Sheen, Carefree’s Arts leader; Cornish visual artist, Emma Saffy Wilson and Celine Elliott, Engagement Lead for CMP. Using the online exhibition Magnificent Maps created by Kresen Kernow, the group made personal maps of journeys they have taken, talked about landmarks and the purpose of maps today and in the past.

A visit to RCM enabled the group to explore the historic collections there: pieces from the handling collection relating to travelling, such as a compass, telescope and globes were examined. Jeni Woolcock, Collections and Engagement Officer at RCM, spent time talking to the group about the possible uses and histories of the objects, providing welcome insight and context.

The museum provided the perfect inspiration for the beginning of the creative process for the group. A full day of making followed in Redruth Youth Centre and – due to the second lockdown restrictions – the subsequent exhibition was shared online with family, friends, social workers and staff at a digital ‘opening night’: the young people spoke movingly about the inspiration behind each piece they made and hugely positive feedback was shared by the ‘audience’.

The ambition is that the exhibition will be shown in the museum at some point in 2021, alongside the objects that inspired the work and the project is already in the process of being replicated and developed further at Kresen Kernow with Carefree.

 

Thank you so much to all those who took part in this amazing project, and to English Heritage for funding the scheme! You can find out more about the work being done as part of Reverberate here.

– Celine Eliott, Engagement Lead at CMP

Royal Geological Society of Cornwall: Short Term Part Time Curatorial Role

The Royal Geological Society of Cornwall is the second oldest Geological Society in the world, founded in 1814 and based in Penzance. We have an archive and collection and are looking for someone to work on a temporary basis to advise and initiate work on bringing this into a digital and accessible format.

Remit for professional work by librarian/archivist:

 1)  Advise on how best the Transactions can be digitised and made available for use for research, e.g. by addition to Google Scholar and other search services.

2)  Carry out preparation work towards this, such as making a record of the Transactions in the Old Fire Station in suitable bibliographic form for library / research use.

3)   Advise on sources of funding for digitisation and how to apply for these.

4)  Review the maps, diagrams and Society records in the Old Fire Station, Penzance and suggest which are important to archive, digitise and/or donate to Kerson Kernow. 

This collection consists of: (a) maps and diagrams – probably drawn for the Transactions – that might be worth archiving (Kresen Kernow); (b) Society records of meetings, payments etc.  Some similar older materials are already in Kresen Kernow.

5)  Catalogue the small book collection & advise on financial value.

 6)  Advise how to proceed regarding archive materials and possible volunteer projects and /or professional projects including digitisation.

 

We have put aside £1,000 for a temporary contract.

We will discuss the hourly rate with any applicants, depending on skill and availability.

Our hope is to have the work done this spring, but this will, of necessity, run into the summer of 2021. The hours are flexible and there is an office in Penzance which can be used independently, without having contact with other persons, so is Covid-19 secure. We will agree the hours and extent of the work with applicants.

Extension of this contract will depend on the advice we receive and the decision for future action, which might include grant applications to cover further work.

We have some volunteers, so an ability to guide and work with volunteers is sought.

 

Person specification:

Experience:

  • an experienced curator or collections manager
  • cataloguing skills appropriate to this type of collection
  • digital collections use and/or set-up
  • familiarity with working with volunteers

 

Knowledge & Understanding

  • knowledge of appropriate digital collection structure and use
  • knowledge of suitable databases or website structures to support distance research of the collection
  • ability to advise on suitable display strategies for the collection
  • knowledge of appropriate funding sources and grant application processes for further work
  • knowledge of valuation or reliable sources for valuation of rare books and papers
  • understanding of the importance of this collection in the field of geology and in a local and national context
  • appreciation of the work and vision of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall.

 

Skills

  • ability to curate and catalogue this type of collection
  • ability to work independently and flexibly
  • digital / computer skills appropriate for setting up and initiating the catalogue and resources for distance learning and research
  • inter-personal skills suitable for guiding and working with volunteers
  • good verbal and written communication skills
  • ability to ensure that the trustees of the Society and any volunteers are informed and aware of developments, progress and plans during and at the termination of the contract.

 

If you are interested in this role, please respond to ‘The Secretary, RGSC’ at royalgeolsoccornwall@gmail.com with an outline of your experience and availability by 30th January 2021.

 

– Linda Beskeen; Secretary, RGSC

A Day in the Life Blog: Charlotte Morgan, Programmes Manager

Welcome to our blog series, ‘A Day in the Life…’ which features a member of the CMP team and what they get up to on a typical day at work. Next up is Charlotte Morgan, Programmes Manager. Read on for more about how Charlotte spends her time at Cornwall Museums Partnership.

Being asked to contribute a blog post to this series has been a great chance to reflect on what I get up to as Collaborative Programmes Manager for CMP – especially as I am getting closer to the 6-month mark of being in the post!

My role is essentially split between two core priorities:

  1. Managing the National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) funding that CMP receives,
  2. Fundraising for future programmes of work and to protect the future of our charity.

A fair portion of my time is spent corresponding – either by email, phone, or on a video call – with the directors and staff members of the museums who form our NPO consortium. These are Bodmin Keep, Wheal Martyn, Royal Cornwall Museum, Falmouth Art Gallery, the Museum of Cornish Life, Penlee House Gallery & Museum, and PK Porthcurno. They represent such a wide variety of museums, collections, and communities across Cornwall, it’s always a pleasure to hear how they are getting on, the projects they are running, or to chat through a hurdle they’ve come up against. At the moment, a huge amount of our correspondence is Covid related – updates on opening hours, funding available, or the latest creative way the museums’ teams have pivoted to continue their amazing work serving their communities. The museums I work with never fail to amaze me with their keenness to try new things, creativity, and hard work and resilience to simply keep going.

A visit to the Museum of Cornish Life:

 

When I’m not focusing on the NPO programme, I’m usually working through a new project. On any given day this can include: a brainstorming session with a colleague, museum staff, funder, or external stakeholder; reading guidance and reports; drafting budgets; completing application forms; writing letters and emails; chatting to funders and partners on the phone or a video call; or signing paperwork. Once projects are submitted, we endure the anxious wait for a result. If successful, I am responsible for kicking off the projects – whether that means convening a project meeting or undertaking recruitment to run the programme.

On the other side of the fundraising coin is the ongoing communication I have with our funders. These can sometimes be simple email exchanges, but often we compile detailed reports and evaluation for the organisations who provide financial support for our work. When it comes to this, my colleagues are the most valuable resource. I work closest with the Programmes team: Celine, Steph, and Oliver, who between them are responsible for supporting the delivery of our NPO objectives, as well as the Museum Development programme in Cornwall, which supports many of the smaller and volunteer run organisations. Very few of my days go past without a chat with at least one of them.

What I really enjoy about my work is that every day is different – cliché, but true. I get to be involved in such a wide range of projects that CMP is working on, from the Heritage Awards, to trial technology projects, and everything in between. It also means I spend a lot of time on Excel, compiling budgets and project timelines.

2020 Heritage Awards:

 

It is so rewarding to be able to work in a role that pushes our organisation forward, providing opportunities for new areas of work. Nothing quite beats the feeling of a successful funding bid, knowing all the work that’s gone into it. Working for CMP is a real joy and privilege – this role allows me to be creative, make connections, and work collaboratively across Cornwall and the UK.

– Charlotte Morgan

Charlotte works Monday-Friday and can be reached at charlotte@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk.

Play in a socially distanced world

The ‘play in museums’ mentoring project

Kids in Museums alongside Charlotte Derry (Playful Places) and Penny Wilson (Play KX) offered eleven museums mentoring and support to develop playful offerings at their venues. The aim was to make visits for families more fun, engaging and enjoyable. Here at PK Porthcurno we’re so pleased to have been selected to take part in this project which fortunately kicked off just as we were reopening in September 2020.

With the new restrictions on social distancing in place, we were saddened to have to remove or close off our much-loved free playful museum resources for visitors at PK. All our Victorian costumes, paper-based coding activity stations, early years toys and books were stored away out of reach to allow for our Covid-safe museum reopening in early September 2020. Looking for new ways for children to play in a socially distanced way during a visit to PK, even if only as a temporary intervention, became a top priority!

 

The mentoring

The project hit the ground running with two remote group meetings for all the mentees in September. Charlotte and Penny supported us by bringing a calming warmth and a great sensitivity in understanding the challenges that all our venues were facing together. It was fascinating to hear peers from other museums across the country all struggling with similar fears and frustrations around playful things to do in museums and galleries in a socially distanced way.

The artists drove our project pilot planning by sharing resources which included playful prompts, a risk benefit assessment template, a play statement and a fantastic Play Scrapbook full of imaginative ideas to inspire us all. We were encouraged to be courageous and outrageous but realistic and to think about was achievable for our team.

We had a one-to-one Zoom meeting with Penny and Charlotte with advice and feedback on our project pilot. A final remote group meeting took place before the project concluded with a remote Kids in Museums Training Event that took place in November via Zoom: 60 delegates attended and each venue was asked to write a case study afterwards.

 

What did we do at PK?

We used our first Tiny Fun Palace event as a play pilot at the museum on Saturday 3rd October. The event included small playful games and interventions including semaphore gaming, takeaway coding packs, mirror reflective fun, hopscotch and bubbles!

We revisited existing resources and used them in a new way, allowing us and our visitors to be more playful with spaces in and around the museum. For example, we filled our awkward empty costume wardrobes with mirrored reflective shapes, used previously for school workshops, to allow for experimental moments of playfulness, even if only fleeting.

‘The mirrors were really interesting to look at, I tried shining my phone torch onto some of them to get different refractions which worked well’ – Young Curator feedback

We shared 5 playful prompts on social media and our website over the October half term – this was a new way for us of providing prompts for play at home.

Fun was also piloted as part of our working day as we introduced playfulness to colleagues at the start of meetings. Learning peers had a go at tearing a Covid shape out of paper in under 2 minutes via Zoom, and at our in-house staff team meet we played giant Pick Up Sticks.

Love the idea of playing with your team to introduce the importance of play to them’ – Training event attendee comment

 

Our learning

We were able to run with ideas quickly and at a low cost by reinventing our existing resources and spaces. Using quick and snappy ideas helped to reduce dwell time of family bubbles in spaces and keep the visitor flow moving. Reflective play intrigues all ages and fills awkward empty spaces!

Takeaway packs are self-sufficient and easy for families to pick up and use in their own independent time and chalked Hopscotch, of course, remains in place for longer when undercover and away from the rain!

The colourful flag semaphore game hung between trees in our gardens attracted passers-by – the museum is now closed again but at least there is still something to see and do outside the building.

Playful prompts are a great way to share play remotely, although interaction on social media is certainly a challenge. Zoom team meetings are much more fun when you have a laugh!

Special thanks to Kay for giving us all a laugh with our paper-tearing!’’ – Engagement lead feedback

This mentoring project was the start of an exciting point of change – it gave us new confidence in providing playful things to do at the museum and online. It offered ‘permission’ to let go of the need for a learning outcome and the same old ways of doing things pre-Covid and simply allow for play. Going forward we will embed more playfulness in and around our museum and our own working days – the project outcome is play!

To see all the different things that the venues achieved and continue to do through the project, follow #playfulmuseums on Twitter. Project case studies will also be available on the Kids in Museums website in the new year!

 

PK Top Tips for play in a socially distanced way:

1. Reinvent with existing materials and resources

2. Use playful prompts and takeaway packs

3. Be bright, bold and colourful outdoors

4. Be experimental, realistic and consider weather elements

5. Trial ideas and observe visitors/peers from a safe distance

6. Play is for us all

7. Work with artists and Kids in Museums!

 

By Kay Dalton – Engagement Curator, PK Porthcurno

 

Further information:

Charlotte Derry (Playful Places) works with the Happy Museum in the U.K and is a consultant for museums, galleries, schools and heritage sites – supporting and developing their capacity for play. She is the author of Rules for a Playful Museum and worked in the museum sector for over ten years before becoming a play trainer and consultant.

Penny Wilson (Play KX) is a playworker in London’s adventure playgrounds. Play is her work and is at the heart of her life. Her specialty is supporting children with disabilities as they play with their siblings and peers. For years she ran the Chelsea Adventure Playground in London, where children of all abilities played freely together.

For more information about Kids in Museums visit www.kidsinmuseums.org.uk. Sign up and read their manifesto!

 

PK Porthcurno is a museum experience that explores the story of our interconnected world, and how the tranquil valley of Porthcurno became host to our worldwide communications.

We have free entry until end of March 2021, pre bookable. We hold daily free talks and demonstrations, there are still permanent interactives to explore in the museum, an underground bunker with escape stairs (currently closed to keep our visitors safe), a cable hut overlooking stunning Porthcurno beach and a beautiful outdoor sculpture garden.

You can also find out more about our award winning environmental programme Planet PK by following @planetpkporthcurno on Instagram.