There are over 70 heritage organisations in Cornwall which attract over 1.5 million visits each year! Museums are an important part of Cornwall’s cultural offer. Museums enrich the lives of local people and visitors alike.

Our museums give us great opportunities to learn about our past and to inspire us in the future. Museums can connect us with our local area and community.

There are lots of ways to enjoy museums by making a visit, the work they do with schools, becoming a volunteer. Our museums host a range of events. These include International Mining Games, conferences and theatre productions. You can even get married in some of them!

Museums in Cornwall website

We work closely with, and invest in, the Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP), who are the strategic lead for the heritage sector in Cornwall. 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.

Delivery of the Cornwall Museums Strategy 2018-22 is being lead by CMP. The strategy sets out a series of joint intentions for the sector in order to continue its long-term progress and success. CMP is currently developing a new strategy for 2023 onwards. 

The Arts Council and Cornwall Council fund Cornwall’s Museum Development Officer (MDO) service. Cornwall Museums Partnership runs the service. The Museum Development Officer works with museums across Cornwall. They provide 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. We have a management agreement in place with The Museum of Cornish Life. We also invest in four heritage organisations through the Culture and Creative Investment Programme: 

Royal Cornwall Museum looks after the Council's Schools Art Collection for us, more information can be found below.

Cornwall Council is fortunate to have a significant art collection. This includes work by artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Alfred Wallis and Patrick Heron. The calibre of the collection reflects Cornwall's significance in the art world. It boasts a range of artwork from the Nineteenth Century to the present day. The majority of this work forms the Schools Art Collection which started in 1961.

The paintings, prints and sculptures in the Schools Art Collection are currently managed by the Royal Cornwall Museum. They organise:

-Loans of work to schools

-An exhibition programme

-Educational workshops

-Learning resources

Occasionally works are loaned to local museums and galleries.

The Leach Pottery in St Ives manages the ceramic works that are part of the collection. These can be enjoyed as part of a visit to the studio, museum and gallery there.

Also, there are a handful of works that the Council has acquired that are on display at Council offices. Alongside these, there are commemorative items such as photographs and plaques that have been donated to the Council.

Find out more about oil paintings and sculptures that are in public ownership throughout the UK by visiting the Art UK website.


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