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Cornwall Museums Partnership

Cornwall Heritage Awards 2022 Object of the Year

This year we are turning the spotlight on inclusion by drawing public attention to objects in our museum collections that tell previously untold stories, or stories that need retelling from a unique perspective. This award is an opportunity to give those overlooked and marginalised stories a voice.

Our museums are warm and welcoming places. We want our collections to include and reflect the diverse communities we represent. Celebrating untold, misrepresented, or misunderstood objects helps everyone understand what a rich and varied heritage Cornwall has.

Many factors can lead to marginalisation; for example, race, disability, sexuality, and class can all impact and can also intersect. To welcome everyone, we need to recognise how our collections reflect and respect different lives and experiences.

We have asked the heritage organisations to explain how and why the story of the object has been revealed, what difference that story has made to our understanding of that object and what the positive impact has been.


The Objects


National Maritime Museum Cornwall: Pair of Cornish fishwifes’ patterns

19th Century Personal Protective Equipment: Cornish fishwife’s patterns
These shoes are a rare survivor from 1810-1820s, worn by a Cornish fishwife to protect her good shoes from the oil and dirt of fish processing. Who was this woman who used these shoes? What was her life like?

Pair of Cornish fishwife’s patterns – full story


The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society: The Poly Dip Needle Compass

The Poly’s rare, working 19th-century magnetic dip needle is a unique type of compass which enabled ships to traverse the seas safely. It was designed by a Cornish Quaker – a dissenter and so excluded from the scientific elite – but his invention brought Cornwall to the fore of scientific discovery.

The Poly Dip Needle Compass – full story


PK Porthcurno: 1868 Telegraphy Cable showing Gutta Percha

The black insulation on this cable is made of a substance called Gutta Percha. It’s a natural rubber that was instrumental in the expansion of undersea telegraphy. It represents a massive step forward in the history of technology, but also of the Victorian ecological disaster that it created.

1868 Telegraphy Cable showing Gutta Percha – full story


Wadebridge and District Museum: Half-hull model of schooner “Doris”

A half-hull model is an exact scale model of the ship’s hull, constructed by the shipwrights during the design process and subsequently available to the owners as a reference for repair and maintenance.

Half-hull model of schooner “Doris” – full story


Museum of Cornish Life: Dancing Girl of Naukratis

She came to us from Egypt via Camborne. She is the size of a little finger, light-coloured, glazed in part, light to handle and time has mottled her features. The sticker on her back, in loopy script, reads: Ushabti of Dancing Girl fr Naukratis, c 580 B.C.

Dancing Girl of Naukratis – full story


How to vote

Please use the voting system below to vote for the object you feel deserves to be awarded the Object of the Year award. We welcome any questions at this email address: where Stephanie Clemens (Museums Development Officer) or Eilish Calnan (Heritage Awards Coordinator) will respond.


Please vote for your Object Of The Year

This poll is no longer accepting votes

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