In March 2019 Cornwall Museums Partnership and South West Museum Development hosted the annual Cornwall Heritage Awards to celebrate and champion the amazing work that’s taking place at museums and heritage organisations in Cornwall.
The Heritage Heroes award celebrates the dedication and achievements of heritage volunteers.
This amazing volunteer team was crucial to the success of Cornwall’s Regimental Museum’s first relaxed opening, designed for people with autism or sensory processing disorders. The insights of the team, who had experience in healthcare, nursing and teaching students with special educational needs, helped transform the museum; from adjusting levels of lighting and sound, to creating the sensory space and offering craft activities for children and young people of differing abilities. The team’s warm welcome and hands-on support meant they received lots of positive feedback. Their relaxed openings are now a regular feature at the museum.
Led by Jude Carroll, this group of five proactive, hardworking and truly collaborative volunteers developed and ran Helston Makes It! a two-week celebration of the town and the museum, experienced by over 1200 people. Building on the success of last year’s festival, the team took the sessions into schools, working with a local school to produce an animated film. Over the two weeks of the festival the team created an exhibition, a programme of 17 workshops, a screening of the local school’s animated film, and an end celebration event showcasing the skills of over 30 local makers.
The Launceston U3A Local History Group have been working for several years surveying and photographing the buildings within the old walled town and researching their history. Their work resulted in the popular ‘Launceston Buildings: Vernacular Buildings within the Old Town Walls of Launceston’ exhibition. Over a period of nearly 20 years, the History Group has also produced a series of other local history monographs, which provide a permanent record of the research by the history group and other volunteers. A copy of each monograph is sent to the Cornish Studies Library.
The dedicated Engineer Volunteer team at Telegraph Museum Porthcurno give approximately 2,500 hours time to the museum every year. Their knowledge is essential to servicing and repairing the delicate and specialist equipment that is central to the museum’s Designated Collection and visitor experience. This includes the fully working Automatic Regeneration (Regen) system situated in the tunnels that forms the only authentic, working telegraph station remaining in the UK. This year the volunteers have been given a dedicated space in the museum to create the exhibition, ‘I Spy: The Secret Listeners’, which runs April – November 2019.
When a member of the community left a generous bequest to the museum, the volunteer-led Padstow Museum focused their efforts and organised themselves into task force teams to move the museum to a new permanent location at the Old Station House. Determined to address the issues faced in their old building, the team set out to make the new museum family friendly and welcoming. This included having level access for pushchairs and wheelchairs and a hearing loop for visitors and new volunteers. Their hard work paid off as in the first five weeks, the museum received over 2,800 visitors – well above their usual number for that time of year and a great deal of positive feedback. They have also gained over £1,000 in donations – more than their previous annual intake.
The presentation team at Newquay Heritage Archive & Museum carry out the vital work of sharing the local heritage and publicising the museum. The team carry out large numbers of visual presentations throughout the year to schools, colleges, social groups and other organisations. These can cover geographically the whole of Cornwall and include not just Newquay-related historical and cultural topics, but also a wide range of Cornish subjects. Over the last year, the team carried out displays and exhibitions at ten local festivals and events interacting with over 2500 individuals, eight school and college activities with about 250 young people, 24 visual presentations, guided walks and site tours involving 850+ people. The friends and connections the presentation team make ensures the future of the museum.