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Here are 12 Museums & Cornish Heritage Organisations you need to visit in Cornwall…

This month we are celebrating Museums March at Cornwall 365.

There are loads of fantastic museums and heritage organisations in Cornwall and this month we wanted to highlight the amazing work they are doing to keep our Cornish history alive. From libraries to interactive exhibitions, archive centres to heritage tours, read on to see how many you can tick off your list!

To find out what Cornish & Heritage events are coming up near you, click here.

1. The Hypatia Trust


The Hypatia Trust supports and promotes the amazing achievements of women throughout history through exhibitions, publications, talks and educational activities. At the heart of their work is the management of the widespread Hypatia Collection of books, documents and artefacts relating to women’s literature and lives. This incredible archive has been shared with Falmouth and Exeter University, as well as the Morrab Library where it is available to you to go and use, as well as all of the online collections. By sharing these stories with more people it challenges the gender imbalance of women’s roles throughout history and contemporary life.

To find out more about the work of the Hypatia Trust, pop along to their open archive afternoon on Saturday 21st March for free art workshops and activities. Or go and view the collection in Penzance which is open every Thursday between 10am – 1pm.


2. The Morrab Library


There are less than 50 independent libraries in the UK and The Morrab Library is the only one in Cornwall – and lucky for us is one of the largest! The collection has more than 70,000 volumes of literature, history, biography, antiquities, topography, travel, religion and more. Set in a garden by the sea, the library is an idyllic place for activities, study and research and just to enjoy a good book.

The Morrab Library are now offering a £20 student membership for the year, giving you access to their 70,000 books, book-lined Victorian rooms with desks, sockets & often a sea view, WiFi, tea, coffee, biscuits and help from staff and volunteers. To find out more about how you can make use of the collections, visit the website below.


3. Liskeard & District Museum


The Liskeard and District Museum is home to the largest collection of toys in Cornwall and offers interactive fun for all the family. Learn about the history of Liskeard and local people, trades, crafts and the important mining heritage. Come face to face with the invading Daleks and see James Bond’s golden gun, along with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and plenty more.

Visit the website


4. Cobweb Tours


Come on a guided history tour with Cobweb Tours and meet characters from the past. Hetty and Will specialise in bringing Cornish history to life. They will take you through the rich tapestry of stories found in our Cornish towns and villages. Find out which tours are on offer for 2020 on their website.

Visit the website


5. Kresen Kernow


Kresen Kernow is a state-of-the-art new archive centre built in the shell of the former Redruth Brewery. Home to the world’s largest collection of documents, books, maps and photographs related to Cornwall’s history. Everyone is welcome to visit and explore these amazing collections. With 14 miles of shelving to store over 1.5 million of Cornwall’s treasured archives, the centre has exhibition spaces, learning rooms and a digitisation suite. You can visit Kresen Kernow to carry out research, pop in and browse, or take part in a varied activity programme featuring workshops, courses and fun family events.

The C365 What’s On team went along to the opening of Kresen Kernow in September 2019. Find out what we got up to here.


6. Museum of Cornish Life


Step through the unassuming doors of Helston Museum for a truly breath-taking surprise! This lovely old fashioned museum, housed in the town’s historic Market Buildings, is spread over five display halls on three floors, and the thousands of objects will keep you fascinated, entertained, and coming back for more!


7. Wheal Martyn

St Austell

Wheal Martyn is a great place for a fun family day out. Check out the original Victorian Clay Works, bursting at the seams with tools and machinery and real stories of Cornwall’s largest mining industry. Get active exploring the woodlands, let off steam on the kids adventure trail, find the flat rod tunnel and discover the secret drum set. The grounds of Wheal Martyn are a haven for all kinds of creatures, follow the nature trail to see what you can spot. Don’t forget to enjoy a pit stop in the café, serving homemade lunches and cakes plus a tasty Little Miners menu.

Wheal Martyn have loads of family activities throughout the year including pottery painting and clay modelling. See what’s coming up this Easter holidays here.


8. National Maritime Museum


Located near Falmouth Docks, with views overlooking the harbour, the National Maritime Museum is a great place to explore and engage with Cornwall’s history. With 15 galleries and over 5 floors there’s plenty to see and do. Experience centuries-old myths and legends in new exhibition Monsters of the Deep (opening 20th March) and join Yskynna Vertical Dance Company in the Easter Holidays for a spectacular aerial performance with dance, music and storytelling.

With extra monster talks, art exhibitions and activity sessions, find out what else is on during your visit below.


9. Bodmin Keep


Discover extraordinary tales of military life across 300 years at Bodmin’s historic Army Keep. Explore the 12,000 collection items housed in the museum, each with their own story to tell. Stories about the battles that have been fought, weapons that were used or personal letters that were written on the battlefield. Walk in the footsteps of historic heroes in an immersive military experience; stand in a replica war trench, hold a rifle – even try on some costumes!

Bodmin Keep have a range of events all year round. Coming up this season are guided walks around Bodmin, craft workshops, talks and an Indian dance workshop. To find out what’s on when you’re planning your visit, see their website below.


10. Telegraph Museum


The Telegraph Museum tells the fascinating story of the dawn of the age of worldwide communications from the very first global network to the modern day web of fibre optic cables. Find out about the science that has made it all possible, the people who put the ideas into production, and how the world was changed forever, and discover Porthcurno’s amazing place at the very centre of the communications revolution.


11. Penlee House Gallery & Museum


Located within a lovely park in the heart of Penzance, Penlee House Gallery and Museum has a great collection of paintings and artefacts spanning 6000 years of history in west Cornwall. The gallery’s current exhibition, Celebrating Work and Play (on until 14th March) is showcasing a lovely collection of photographs capturing the lives of people from Penlee’s archives. Come and see images of people hard at work fishing, farming, manufacturing, mining and working in the home alongside delightful images of fearless swimmers. fairs, carnivals, sport teams, tea treats and days on the beach.

Penlee House also host free, drop-in family workshops alongside their exhibitions. Join them for monthly and weekly sessions to hear stories, songs and rhymes; and get creative. To find out more about what’s on at Penlee House visit their website below.


12. Cornwall Heritage Trust


Cornwall Heritage Trust manage 11 sites spanning the breadth of Cornwall, from Sancreed Beacon in the far west, to Dupath Well in the east. Their sites cover a broad spectrum of history, from Neolithic remains such as Tregiffian Burial Chamber near Penzance to the 19th Century Treffry Viaduct near Luxulyan.

For as little as £15 a year you can help to support the preservation of these special Cornish sites by becoming a member of the trust. For this you will not only receive special newsletters and updates, but also discounts and free entry into other heritage sites in Cornwall including King Edwards Mine, Wheal Martyn and those run by English Heritage.

Find out more about the trust or how to join as a member below.


To find out what Cornish and heritage events are coming up near you click here.