October is not only the beginning of autumn, it’s also the month where for two days, communities and culture come together in a blur of creativity. Fun Palaces is an annual free weekend and campaign which ‘promotes culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture’. Using a combination of arts, craft, science, tech, digital, heritage and sports activities, Fun Palaces is led by local people for local people, giving the opportunity for skills and passions to be shared across the community. Fun Palaces really is a weekend to celebrate cultural democracy.
An abundance of workshops were held across the first weekend of October, including many of the museums in Cornwall who took part in this fantastic campaign. Carry on reading to hear from 7 Cornish museums on their Fun Palace experiences.
Museum of Cornish Life – Helston
Museum of Cornish Life decided upon a Space Art theme where the 1st Landewednack Brownies came to the museum and explored their new exhibition; Lizard Point Residency. Isobel King, Community Engagement Curator for Museum of Cornish life said how, ‘the exhibition celebrates the work created this year at the Lizard Point Residency, as part of a summer of celebration focussed around Goonhilly Earth Station. The Brownies explored the art works and then set about making their own art using the theme of space as their inspiration.
‘Some of the Brownies worked in teams to recycle cardboard to make two giant rockets which they named The Brownie 1000; others made their own spaceships, pictures of galaxies far away and pictures of what life from another planet would look like.’
If you would like to see the art work from this Fun Palaces weekend, the rockets will be on display at the museum as part of the exhibition until the end of the month.
Penlee House and Porthcurno Telegraph Museum
Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Telegraph Museum Porthcurno and Whole Again Communities worked in partnership with Treneere Team Spirit to deliver the Treneere Fun Palace at the Lescudjack Centre in Penzance.
The Fun Palace was created by the Treneere Team Spirit community group, where they had 65 participants take part from the local community.
Penlee House Gallery returned to the event this year, building on their brilliant previous partnership work with Treneere Team Spirit, and delivered a wonderful ‘Collage on Canvas’ hands on activity.
Telegraph Museum Porthcurno hosted ‘I spy treasures’ and ‘Circus skills’ which included cracking a code on pirate doubloons in a sandy treasure chest, juggling with devil sticks and plate spinning! Families were given a ‘I’m a PK star’ sticker and/or a pirate temporary tattoo after taking part.
Kay Dalton of Porthcurno Telegraph Museum said, ‘it was great for us as an organisation to be able to be a part of Fun Palaces for the first time. There was a lot to do and the weekend brought together the communities and really showed off what Fun Palaces is all about.’
‘Great partnership working!’ Treneere Team Spirit.
‘The whole event had such a buzzing, lovely vibe!’ Penlee House Gallery.
‘Children came back to redo our activities again and again, it was great to see how much time they spent having fun together.’ Telegraph Museum Porthcurno.
Wheal Martyn’s Fun Palace event went incredibly well, with approximately 60 people attending, all of which were families. They had 7 Makers plus Gemma Martin, Education Officer of Wheal Martyn museum, running the activities all day.
There was a wonderful selection of activities on offer, including:
- Zenology Doodling with Laura Martin from their regular Social Prescribing Arts and Crafts Group
- Paper Journal Making with Ruth Hills
- Clay Fun Palace Models with Lynne Simms and Suzy Johnson
- Story Collections and porcelain figures for the Bucawdden Project and, with Zenna Tagney
- Planting and gardening workshops with Tam Pemberton from Perennial Harvest
- Great Biscuit Show Stopper biscuit decorating with Gemma Martin, Wheal Martyn
A great time was had and plenty of lovely feedback with one attendee saying, ‘a lovely idea, my two loved all the different things to do and enjoyed the clay making and biscuit decorating. We’ll be back for more Fun days like this!’ Another person loved it so much that they already can’t wait for the next one, ‘lovely idea, so much to do, friendly atmosphere, something for everyone. Please do another one soon!’
Falmouth Art Gallery and Library
Fun Palace in Falmouth Art Gallery was a collection of different experiences, run for the Community by Community groups. If you felt creative you could create poems with the Write Café, make your own woolly planet with Cornwool, try a Camel costume from Miracle Theatre, join the Global Cardboard challenge with the engineers from the University of Exeter or the LEGO club in the library, drawing in VR with INTERANIMA, make your own electronic textile bracelets with Touch Craft or have a go at weaving.
If music is your thing, you were able to play bells with Perran Rebells, improvise a song with SING! Choir or create electronic instruments with CO:NOISE project. You could relax in their boardgames café with cakes, tea and coffee from Falmouth Fairtrade. Source FM Community radio was also there interviewing all the community groups involved. It was a great day and one they can’t wait to repeat soon!
Cornwall’s Regimental Museum – Bodmin Keep
At Bodmin Keep, the theme was ‘Building, Making, Playing’, a theme that extended across the whole town, with 8 Fun Palace sites and one roaming Fun Palace. At the Keep, 12 makers produced theatrical wounds and gave reflexology. There was also badge and pom-pom making, engineering challenges with the local Cadets and healthy eating activities with Cornwall Council, as well as a whole host of games to play. There was a quiz to complete, part of a town wide Fun Palaces quiz, encouraging people to visit all the venues over the weekend.
Verity Anthony, Visitor Experience and Collections Manager of the museum said, ‘the day went fantastically, and participants and makers alike had a great time. We’re already thinking ahead to next year!’
Royal Cornwall Museum – Truro
The Royal Cornwall Museum had a plethora of different activities for people to explore, discover and create. Sophie Meyer, Marketing Digital Lead for the museum said, ‘you really felt the community spirit on Fun Palace day. A great range of people who had never been to the Museum before, suddenly spending hours exploring all the different activities on offer. It’s fantastic for the local community to come together and share skills and it’s a joy to host.’
The Royal Cornwall Museum had all sorts of activities such as;
- Shallal 2 Dance performance inspired by their Face to Face exhibition. Be inspired and check out their video!
- Lithium extraction and geology games with Cornish Lithium
- Radio broadcasting with Pirate FM
- Learning to sing with Hall for Cornwall
- Learning Cornish
- Gold Panning
If you’d like to take part in or host a Fun Palace weekend, please head to the Fun Palaces website for all the details. The next weekend of action is the 3rd and 4th October 2020.
– Jody Woolcock
Marketing and Impact Officer, Cornwall Museums Partnership