Last month we welcomed Sandra Shakespeare and Ashton John from the Black British Museum (BBM) project to highlight some of the brilliant inclusive work going on in Cornish museums telling Black histories.
We also visited Kresen Kernow with some of the Black Voices Cornwall (BVC) networks to view their current exhibition tracking Cornish connections to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
At the Museum of Cornish Life, we heard from volunteer Julia Webb-Harvey and Trainee Curator Tamsin Chaffin, who talked about their Under The Eaves research and exhibition. This exhibition explores the process of unpicking objects’ stories in museums and how museum staff and volunteers approach this.
Kresen Kernow undertook some significant work in the summer of 2020, re-cataloguing their databases to increase the accessibility of Black histories in their collection, manually reviewing their records and adding search terms to objects which will make them easier to find and research in the future.
The collection relating to Cable and Wireless at PK Porthcurno enabled us to understand the global connections of Porthcurno, via the telegraph cables. Staff and Citizen Curators at the museum have been researching these global connections, understanding the impact of telegraphy on both Cornwall and the countries where cables landed, enabling communication across the Empire.
It is so inspiring to see the commitment to increasing the accessibility of Cornish museum collections, and we’re excited to continue our work with the Black British Museum project into next year.
We’re grateful to Art Fund for enabling this work via our Rural Diversity Network, thanks to support from a Professional Network Grant.
Image credits: Ashton John and Charlotte Morgan