Celine Elliott has joined the team at the Royal Cornwall Museum as their Community Engagement Officer. Celine’s post is funded through the Cornwall Museums Partnership’s NPO programme, supported by Arts Council England.
Celine has worked for over a decade in Community Engagement in Cornwall and the North East of England, where she also studied part-time for a Master’s degree in Museums, Galleries & Heritage Studies. To be given the opportunity to engage a broad range of individuals and groups with the fascinating collection of RCM, Celine is excited by the possibilities the role presents.
Since being in post, Celine has hit the ground running with a number of projects that have increased the museum’s outreach work and targeted new audiences.
Over the six weeks holidays, she collaborated with Truro Foodbank to add a free family pass to every food parcel being given out. Truro Foodbank is just a short walk from the museum, and last year more than 2500 food parcels were distributed. A third of the recipients were families with children.
There was a 90% take-up rate on the passes, and the initiative is now being extended to include non-school holiday periods as well. Celine says, ‘It’s important that we don’t exclude those who are going through economically challenging times and that’s why we’re delighted so many families have chosen to use their pass.’
The initiative has also led to the museum working with Truro Library, to provide free family passes that can be loaned out and returned like a book.
Celine has also quickly improved the museum’s offer for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In collaboration with Spectrum, a local charity that provides residential care for adults and children, Celine has developed Relaxed Opening events, sensory resource backpacks, pre-visit downloads and an online sensory map.
‘It’s been a great learning curve and one that we will continue to build on in the future. A museum like ours should be there for everyone, whatever their personal challenges, and that’s what we’re doing as much as we can to achieve.’
Celine’s hard work was recognised by the Truro and Falmouth MP and Minister for Disabled People, Sarah Newton, who visited as part of the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour campaign.
Most recently, Celine asked a local group called The Material Girls to help out with the museum’s Fun Palaces event. They knitted 150 feet of colourful wool to cover the pillars in front of Royal Cornwall Museum. Once it was taken down, Johnson’s Dry Cleaners in Truro offered to clean it free of charge, and the ladies separated it into 35 scarves. The scarves have now been given to St Petroc’s Society who work with single homeless people in Cornwall. A representative for the charity said, ‘We’re bowled over by everyone’s generosity,” said Lois. “These gifts will make a real difference to our clients and, on their behalf, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved.’
Having reached out to so many new and local audiences for the museum, we can’t wait to see what Celine does next.
Cornwall Museums Partnership’s NPO programme has provided funding for new Community Engagement Officers at five museums in Cornwall. This enables museums to undertake brilliant projects like Celine’s. Twenty jobs, five apprenticeships, and five paid-internships have been created by our Arts Council England-funded programme.