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Cornwall Museums Partnership

Cornwall Museums Strategy 2018 - 2022

This strategy sets out the aims for museums in Cornwall. It is a plan that has been developed by staff and volunteers from museums across Cornwall, coordinated by Cornwall Museums Partnership. It sets out our collective intentions, based on what we have learned from working collaboratively with each other and with our communities. It is the road map to realise our shared belief in the great value that museums bring to society.

Cornwall is a land of museums; there are over 70 of them here and 32 of them are Accredited—the most of any region in England. They are enduringly popular and in 2017/18 Cornwall’s Accredited museums were visited by over 1.5 million people.  Each year museums in Cornwall help 300,000 children and young people in Cornwall to learn about the unique and diverse heritage of the Duchy.

These museums help people see the world differently and preserve and celebrate our unique sense of place. Supported by over 2000 volunteers, they bring people together and help them stay active. They link our past to the present and help us to shape the future. They explore the most profound and enduring questions humans can ask about our place in the world and bring meaning to our lives.

Some short films about what museums in Cornwall do.


What is Cornwall Museums Strategy?

Cornwall Museums Strategy sets out the aims for museums in Cornwall. It is a plan that has been developed by staff and volunteers from museums across Cornwall, coordinated by Cornwall Museums Partnership. It sets out our collective intentions, based on what we have learned from working collaboratively with each other and with our communities. It is a high-level plan to achieve long-term progress and change in museums.

The strategy is for:

  • museum boards, staff and volunteers, to help inform the decisions they make about their work;
  • museum stakeholders (including funders and museum users), to help inform the decisions they make about their investment and interaction with museums.

How to use the strategy

Cornwall Museums Strategy is presented as a pack of ideas and method cards that have been created around principles of human-centred design and inclusive design. The cards are centred on the four pillars of the strategy: values, the way we will work, our priorities and what does success look like, together with a suit called let’s make our plan that guides you through the process of creating an at-a-glace plan or policy that you can freely promote and share.

Cornwall Museums Strategy can be used by any museum in Cornwall to demonstrate their commitment to being an active member of their communities. It can be used to support fundraising by showing that your museum is part of a wide society of Cornish museums which act together to provide cultural opportunities for the Duchy’s inhabitants and visitors. It can also be used to underpin your forward and business plans as it is built on the principles of collaboration, good governance, resilience, ethical practice and leadership.



Our strategy is guided by the following values which underpin the things that are special and unique about museums and the way they work:

  • Sharing knowledge

I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to spend a quality afternoon with my son while he gave me a personal tour, recounting all the wonderful facts and insights you have shared with him.”

  • Authenticity

I have never been to a gallery before and it’s way more exciting than I thought it would be – I have loved this project!”

  • Trust

“It’s nice to have our voices included.”

  • Reflection

They got to be part of something which helped with their sense of self and identity.

  • Community

“You helped me to connect with people that will help me in the future.”


The way we will work

From experience, we know that the way museums work is directly related to our ability to make a difference in our communities.  We’ve boiled it down to 4 key principles which inform how museums work in Cornwall:

  1. Collaboration – we will work together with other museums, with our local communities, businesses and other partners to maximise our contribution to society
  2. Sustainability – we will focus on lasting solutions that will protect the long term future of the collections, and the knowledge they represent, in our care
  3. Creativity – we will think differently about what we do, and be willing to take risks to test out new ways of working
  4. Ambition – throughout our work we will strive for the highest goals and standards


Our priorities

  1. Diversifying income –what can we do to earn more money from a wider range of places?
  2. Smart use of tech – how can we use technology to help deliver our mission and to reach more people?
  3. Great experiences – who isn’t coming, and why not? Who is going to care about our museum in 20 years time?
  4. Diverse skilled people – which skills do we have on board? Who can we learn from? What training have we taken part in? Which skills could we share with others?
  5. Sharing knowledge – who will we share our knowledge with, and who will be able to add to our knowledge?
  6. Advocates – what can we do to champion the value of museums?


What does success look like?

  1. Benefited – More and a wider range of people have benefited from our museum
  2. Earned – We have earned more money from a wider range of sources
  3. Shared – Knowledge from our collections is shared widely, and more people have had the opportunity to add to our knowledge
  4. Valued – Our communities and decision makers have shown greater value in our museum
  5. Inspired – Our museum has provided space and inspiration for diverse people to explore their identities, especially their Cornishness and the Cornishness of others.


Let’s make our plan

  1. What do you want to do?

We want to… write our business/forward plan… develop a communication strategy… update our collecting policy…

Choose the plan you want to make. Look at the Strategy map card.

  1. What do you believe in?

Write down or draw your museum’s mission. What else is important to you individually and as an organisation? List the groups of people who will benefit from your museum. These things inform your goals.

Lay out the Values cards.

  1. How will you achieve your goals?

Write down or draw the methods you will use to meet your mission. Focus on a few key principles and methods that you will use to reach your goals.

Lay out The way we will work cards.

  1. What will you deliver?

Write or draw each of the activities that make up your priorities. Which things will you focus on and when will you achieve them? Choose 1-3 activities per priority and set deadlines.

Lay out the Our priorities cards.

  1. How will we know if the plan is working?

Work out your targets or key performance indicators (KPIs) for each priority or objective. Make them realistic. Success is not straightforward, don’t worry if things don’t work at first.

Lay out the What does success look like cards.


Personalise this plan for your museum

  1. Lay out the Let’s make our plan Familiarise yourself with each section of the strategy. Use the prompts to brainstorm and then refine your ideas.
  2. The Strategy map card suggests a layout you can use. Use the sticky notes to brainstorm ideas, choose your objectives, and set targets and KPIs.
  3. Need inspiration? View here examples of activities you might try and different ways you can set targets.
  4. Take a photo of your plan and share it with your colleagues, communities and stakeholders.

For more information or help with your strategy email

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