Best Project on a Budget 2019

In March, Cornwall Museums Partnership and South West Museum Development hosted the annual Cornwall Heritage Awards to celebrate and champion the amazing work that is taking place across museums in Cornwall.

This week we are focusing on the Best Project on a Budget, which highlights projects that have been achieved for less than £500.

Best Project on a Budget  – Winner
Saltash Heritage: Volunteers are the Lifeblood of our Museum.


Wishing to celebrate the dedication and commitment of their 48 volunteers, Saltash Heritage has sought to enhance their volunteers experiences through setting up training sessions, talks, and an annual awards ceremony. In the light-hearted awards ceremony, the achievements of the volunteers were recognised with bronze stars they could wear on their lanyards, these included awards such as ‘Museum Squatter’ for the volunteer with the most amount of hours and ‘The One to Always Leap Out of His Chair’.



Best Project on a Budget – Highly Commended



Lostwithiel Museum: Creating a Corporate Identity.


In February 2018, Lostwithiel Museum launched a whole new corporate identity featuring a new logo and corporate look for all communications including print, signage, and digital output. The new look has allowed the museum to strengthen its brand awareness, providing a cohesive appearance for visitors and allowing the museum to raise its profile. With the new signs, visitors on arrival to the town are able to instantly recognise the museum, that the museum is open, and that admission is free. Since the introduction of the branding, visitor numbers have increased by 60%.

Highly Commended – Bodmin Town Museum: Space Creation/Conservation


Through converting a small hidden cupboard into a new hanging storage facility Bodmin Town Museum have improved the conservation of their costume collection. As part of the process of creating the new storage space, each costume item was recorded, catalogued and photographed. The project has allowed the team at the museum to learn more about their costume collection, enabling them to display items and create better access to the collection in future.

The Saltash volunteers who are keeping local history alive

The small yet flourishing town of Saltash is known as many things. It is the last place where you stop before crossing the Tamar, as well as the gateway into Cornwall. It is also home to one of Cornwall’s most interesting and unique cultural experiences and the first museum you will come across as you enter the county.

Saltash Heritage Museum and Local History Centre is a hub of community activity. Run by a dedicated team of volunteers, the museum organises everything from archaeology digs to research projects, conservation activities and family history days.

Saltash Heritage was formed in 1986 after a group of like-minded local residents started to research their ancestry within the area. Excited about the information they found, what decided to create a more permanent home for this information, preserving it for the future generations. Thanks to their drive and determination, coupled with years of hard work and fundraising, the Saltash Museum and Local History Centre found its first home, officially opening its doors in 2000.

The museum today is run thanks to the hard work of over 50 volunteers, many of which initially donated to the museum’s collection and have since become more widely involved in the running of the organisation.

Inside, the walls are littered with memories, including photographs and important documents, each telling a story of the town’s rich history. The museum’s permanent display gives a detailed overview of the town as well as the stories of the well-known ‘characters’ of Saltash. Visitors to the area are also encouraged to get involved, through a specially created trail that runs around the old part of the town. Following the map, visitors can explore local history by finding the special blue plaques and visiting key points of interest.

The museum is also a popular hub for those looking to retrace their own past, as it acts as a research centre for those interested in local history. Many of the volunteers teach classes on family history, sharing their knowledge and answering queries both online and face to face. The building has its own dedicated research room, that remains open all year round, as well as its own Archaeological group, that works both in the Saltash area and other parts of Cornwall.

Not only that, but Saltash Heritage acts as an active contributor to the local community, working with schools, nursing homes and youth groups regularly, sharing their resources and running activities. The organisation has recently been working with the local council to provide photographs in celebration of the regeneration of the old Saltash Railway Station, which will be displayed on the hoardings around the building.

Of course conserving and uncovering the past is an ongoing project. This year, thanks to the Arts Council, Saltash Heritage have been able to transcribe and preserve approximately 200 personal letters that were given to the museum and written by a prestigious Saltash family from the late 1700’s. The project, entitled the ‘Napean Papers’ was fully inclusive, allowing those volunteers who were unable to get to the museum in person, whether due to illness or access requirements, to work from home on digital copies of the artefacts. This new approach has seen new volunteers engage with the organisation as well as embracing those who were unable to continue their voluntary work previously.

What makes the museum so special? True to the day it started, Saltash Heritage could not run without the dedication and commitment of its volunteers. Passionate about their local heritage, every individual makes a difference, no matter how small, to the running of the organisation. A special celebration event takes place every year, where volunteers get together and discuss upcoming plans for the following years. Together they are helping to educate and inform the future generations, just as those before them did those 32 years ago.

Saltash Heritage is funded entirely by membership subscriptions and fundraising. For more information on how to get involved visit their website or call 01752 848466.