Museums

Did you know, there are over 70 museums in Cornwall which attract over 1.5 million visits each year!  Of these 32 museums are currently Accredited.  Museums are an important part of Cornwall’s cultural offer enriching the lives of local people and visitors alike. They showcase our rich and unique heritage exploring subjects as diverse as:

  • maritime
  • mining
  • artists and sculptors
  • china clay
  • rural life
  • telegraph communications
  • military history
  • and even witchcraft
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To find out more about the many museums in Cornwall visit the Museums in Cornwall website.

We work closely with, and invest in, the Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP). This is innovative organisation has gained national recognition for its work. CMP encourages collaborative working within the museum sector and provides a range of specialist support:

  • support in fundraising and income generation
  • a professional advisory service for museum staff and volunteers and
  • a range of training and events.

CMP have recently launched a new Cornwall Museums Strategy 2018-22. The strategy sets out a series of joint intentions for the sector in order to continue its long-term progress and success. The previous strategy and its companion document are still available:

Together with Arts Council England the Council funds Cornwall’s Museum Development Officer (MDO) service. This is provided by Cornwall Museums Partnership.  The MDO works with museums across Cornwall providing professional advice and guidance. This enables museums to achieve sustainable improvements. It also helps to maximize museum benefits to audiences and their communities.

Unlike many other local authorities Cornwall Council doesn’t directly run any museums. Instead we currently have management agreements in place with four museums. They look after Cornwall Council owned buildings or collections.  These include:

In addition Royal Cornwall Museum looks after part of our art collection for us. You can find out more on our Art Collections page.

We provide Culture Revenue Grant funding to five museum clients:

In addition to this the Council also provides grant funding to a number of museum projects. We are match funding the Arts Council’s investment into the Change Makers Programme in Cornwall. This is intended to diversify the senior leadership in the museum sector. It will also inject new ways of thinking into cultural organisations.

Previous Council investments into strategic museums programmes have included:

  • Catalyst (which aimed to build museums fundraising capacity and skills) and
  • the Young Ambassadors project

Both were principally funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Young Ambassadors was an imaginative project that paired three schools with their local museums. It gave students the opportunity to collaborate with the museum staff and artists to devise displays and interpretation. This would make the museums more attractive to a younger audience.

We are working closely with several museums to help them undertake significant transformation projects. See our Major Projects page for more details.