The award-winning Telegraph Museum Porthcurno has been granted £100,000 by the DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund; part of a £4m boost for England’s museums and galleries announced today by Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey.
The museum is temporarily closed to the public whilst extensive development takes place inside its Grade II listed Edwardian buildings, which once formed part of the world’s biggest and busiest telegraph cable station.
The ambitious project will deliver exciting new exhibitions, improved visitor facilities, and a brand new café. The museum expects to re-open to the public later this summer, but continues to run a reduced events schedule and learning programme in the meantime.
“We’re delighted by the news of today’s award. The support from DCMS/Wolfson is vital to our project which will inspire people with a remarkable history that really has shaped the world we live in. The telegraph was the precursor to the internet, and in an age when we are constantly connected to one another, these stories and collections are more relevant than ever.”
– Mark George, Chief Executive Officer
The latest award places the Telegraph Museum alongside such national treasures as Kensington Palace and Shakespeare’s birthplace who have also received grants.
Phase one of the museum’s project is already complete. A landmark new building now houses the museum’s famous archive as well as the Clore Learning Space; a bright, flexible centre that provides a hub for visiting schools and community groups. Designed by renowned architect MJ Long of Long and Kentish; the team behind Falmouth’s iconic National Maritime Museum Cornwall; the building has a distinctive winged roof and enormous windows which flood the building with light.
“The new museum building has been fantastic for us and has allowed us to continue working with schools and the community right throughout the museum closure. We hosted a local school nativity play here at Christmas, and the St Levan Local History Group is regularly meeting here to plan their next book project. It’s become a real nerve-centre for our communities and we can only see that growing once the museum itself is open again.”
– Rachel Webster, Communications Manager
The museum houses the archive of Cable & Wireless whose history can be traced back to the Falmouth, Gibraltar & Malta Telegraph Company which completed Porthcurno’s first undersea telegraph cable in 1870, linking it with Bombay. The archive provides a unique resource for schools and colleges, academics, family researchers, writers and artists from around the world. The museum’s collections team is planning a new programme of events for later this year that will enable visitors to get closer to the collections than ever. Hands-on conservation events will inspire a new generation from this summer onwards, whilst a series of workshops is planned for the autumn to build research and digital skills.
Announcing the latest awards, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey commented;
“The range of projects being funded is testament to the great variety of wonderful collections and attraction at our museums and galleries across the country. These grants will help improve visitor experience, benefiting local communities and helping to encourage growth, whilst also inspiring audiences with new knowledge, and I’m delighted that with the ongoing generosity of the Wolfson Foundation we have been able to fund so many projects.”
For details of all 40 recipients of the latest DCMS/Wolfson awards, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/4-million-awarded-to-english-museums