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Statement Re: Change to Cornwall Council’s funding of the museum

5 October 2022

Cornwall Council is providing initial transitional support while Royal Cornwall Museum reviews its business plan and applies for funding from partners to create a museum for the 21st Century.

Royal Cornwall Museum has been working with the strategic partners in the Cornwall Culture Investment Board and with Cornwall Museums Partnership to explore solutions that keep the museum’s collections open to the public.  The Culture Investment Board brings Cornwall Council, Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England to coordinate cultural projects in Cornwall.

Councillor Carol Mould, Cornwall Council Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods said: “This is a unique situation. The partners in the Cornwall Culture Investment Board are keen to ensure that the public are able to continue to enjoy the collections at the Royal Cornwall Museum which tell key parts of Cornwall’s story.  Our transitional support will enable the museum to commence its longer-term transformation and reinvention plan.

“The museum was formed more than 200 years ago by the Royal Institution of Cornwall to promote excellence in our science, art and culture and our world leading industries. Because of the unique nature of the organisation, the Council is keen to find different ways to develop the long-standing relationship between the Council, RCM and other partners to ensure that we can look forward and be successful together.

“We all want to see the Royal Cornwall Museum live up to its full potential as a high-quality cultural destination.  The first step will be for the museum to carry out a thorough review of their business and development plan so that it can attract funding from other agencies.”

Jonathan Morton of the Royal Cornwall Museum said: “We are extremely grateful that Cornwall Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Arts Council and Historic England have recognised the positive trajectory of RCM’s long-term plans for a sustainable future.  This initial support will help us transition into our longer term plans.

“We would also like to say how grateful we are to everyone who has supported the museum and its importance to Cornwall over the last few years and in the last few months.

“The offer of this transitional support puts us in a really positive position to continue our work and to build a longer-term funding solution, one that will still require a huge amount of effort and will mean we continue to need the support of everyone in Cornwall.”


  • Dianne Seale
    July 5, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    Devastating news and as you say particularly in the middle of a financial year. Which makes this action all the more unconscionable.
    Was due to come back volunteering last Saturday but a bad foot prevented that so may see you this coming weekend. But if there us anything else I can do – join a campaign, write the placards, rattle a donation can, etc- please let me know.

  • Jane Reynolds
    July 5, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    Shocked, saddened and appalled.
    It might seem daft but Griff Rhys Jones has championed local museums and history generally. Reach out to him? He has a public voice.
    I already have asked him to help raise a social media rumpus. Maybe you could too.
    Likewise figures like Lucy Worsley (I bet there are stories lurking in the archives that would interest her).
    Hope they’re not daft ideas. On reflection we need to throw everything at this!

  • Jane Tippett
    July 5, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    Grew up in Truro and have many fond memories of visits to the museum with my school and with my niece and nephew. Yes the need to modernise and offer innovative exhibitions is key to success however the need to provide council funding and support should be mandatory. Other funding may be sought for special exhibitions.

  • Sue Little
    July 5, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    Love the museum..i have visited many times on my hols to Cornwall children enjoyed looking at your artifacts and learning about Cornish heritage .We’ve loved the art exhibitions and filling in the comments sheets as everyones opinion of art is different .. i hope you can retain funding it would be so sad if you close .

  • Louise Gill
    July 5, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    I am so upset about this decision about funding for the RCM. I went to school in Truro and remember spending hours looking at the mineral collection. The Egyptian mummy was of course the highlight.
    As a family we have donated items to the museum, including a Chemists carboy.
    Every time I come to visit my Mum in Truro, I always pop in to the museum. I am Cornish and now live quite far away, but I think that closing the Museum would be a great loss to the culture and history of Cornwall.

  • Sam Putt
    July 6, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    What on earth are they thinking of? This is a unique asset to the county. Something precious, meaningful and educational to all who visit. For our future generations and for us now, surely there has never been anything more important in the stories it holds and the history that has come to shape the Cornwall we know today. Cornwall Council get your priorities right for goodness sake.

  • Lawrie Berthelsen
    July 6, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    My wife and I visited Truro specifically to see the Museum. We were visiting our daughter in Bristol, from Australia. Our daughter drove us to Truro for the day.

    As well as visiting the Museum, we bought books from the bookshop; we bought minerals from a nearby mineral dealer, we had a counter lunch in a pub, as well as a few drinks; we visited the Cathedral; and we filled up with petrol before leaving.

    It is very short-sighted to be closing this world-famous museum down, and it must bring much outside money into the town.

    Lawrie Berthelsen.

  • Nyns yw marow Gwithti Kernow!

  • Nicky Clark
    July 6, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    I don’t live in Cornwall but have been a regular visitor for 40 years. My sister and brother in law have lived and worked as teachers here for the same amount of time. I,like so many others,am totally appalled by the Council’s actions. I shall be sending a donation….it won’t be much as I am retired…but to show my support.

  • Jennie
    July 11, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    I live in Somerset but holiday every year in Cornwall. We have visited the museum many times as a family. I made a special trip by train to visit the Winston Graham exhibition. It introduced me to Kurt Jackson’s work and many other artists. It’s an absolute gem of a museum and must not be closed. Whoever made this decision needs to be given the push! The museum is an incredible resource for locals and visitors alike. I have donated to the fund in the hope that it keeps things going for a while longer.

  • Beryl Hawker
    July 21, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    This is appalling! I grew up in Truro and went to Truro High School. My family have lived and worked in Cornwall for centuries and the museum holds their history and culture. I want my grandchildren and extended family to have access to this mine of information and interest. In my opinion the Museum is a vital part of the City of Truro. The centre of the city needs imaginative development and support to bring people in and keep it vibrant and alive. I am going to write to the Council to add my support for ongoing funding. It is madness to stop it, especially mid-term.

  • Mrs.Joyce Gulliford
    July 21, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    I find it hard to believe that Cornwall Council will not support our own Museum. Money has been found for Hall for Cornwall for example. What is more important than somewhere that school children in particular can learn about their heritage. My children and family loved it. It seems that anything worthwhile is forgotten in favour of trivia these days. It was obviously thought to be important once when the proposal of a Museum was first thought of. I hope you will think again.

  • Claire Keohane
    July 22, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    Without this museum the county will truly be deprived – shame on administrators/councillors for even considering this option.

  • Roger Snell
    July 22, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    As someone born in Truro and who attended the Cathedral School who with all the other County schools regularly visited the museum it is my opinion this decision is probably one of the most retrograde made by CCC. I personally despise it!

  • Adam
    July 23, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    Yes a shame and undoubtedly a very difficult and unpopular decision. But how much choice do CCC have given the economic climate and central government’s ideologically based under funding of local authorities over the years?

    Maybe of interest to see where councils get their money from:

  • Stephen Horscroft
    July 25, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    This decision has been taken by one Councillor (the Cabinet member for Culture) without consultation with the rest of the Council or officer input/research. The justification is based on 37% of the available budget being focused in Truro rather than ‘spread around Cornwall’ but the facts are that Truro is Cornwall’s capital city and the collections housed at the RCM are for and from the whole of Cornwall. In that way it is a statement of Cornish distinctiveness and identity.

    Rural schools visit the RCM and exhibits are loaned to organisations around Cornwall. This includes helping people with dementia (for example) so in terms of both education and health the RCM is actually contributing positively in worth that could be translated into Pounds.

    Direct and indirect employment of the RCM (as well as procurement to the local economy) are other factors not considered. If the RCM closed how would the collections be cared for? There would also be a footfall gap in the high street and (no doubt) an attempt by Cornwall Council to replace the use of the building with high value flats that local people could not afford.

    A decision taken without consultation and without analysis of the facts or the consequences.

  • Andrew cameron
    August 15, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    I’ve been visiting the museum on and off for 70 years and have introduced children and grandchildren to its treasures. It’s one of the few substantive centres of Cornish culture that is easily accessible to the local community and visitors to Cornwall. To close it or reduce it in any way would be nothing short of cultural vandalism, just at the time we should be strengthening and developing our cultural industries and traditions. Those responsible for this wanton act will go down in history – for the wrong reasons!

  • John Mansfield
    August 23, 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

    Don’t let them close this national asset. We can get by by losing a lot, but this place is precious and part of our national heritage. PLEASE keep it: it is our life!

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