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Porthcurno Telegraph Museum’s new archive and learning space unveiled
7:00am Saturday 28th September 2013 in News
Porthcurno Telegraph Museum’s new 'Archive and Clore Learning Space', home to 18,000 documents and objects, has been officially opened
The official opening of Porthcurno’s newest building marked the completion of the first phase of the Telegraph Museum’s development project, with the museum set to re-open in summer 2014 with new visitor facilities, including a new cafe and new exhibitions.
Rachel Webster, communications officer at Porthcurno Telegraph Museum said: “We’re not closing completely. The new Clore Learning Space will be open on special days for family events and activities, as well as our regular evening talks. We will continue to welcome school and college groups for workshops and we’ll be holding community consultation sessions in the new space too.
"Researchers who want access to Porthcurno’s archive are already benefiting from fantastic new facilities including a brand new search room and digitisation facilities.” -
Porthcurno is home to an award-winning museum and heritage attraction. The training college finally closed its doors in 1993, but the original telegraph equipment once used to train young engineers now attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.
Opened by Lord John Dennison-Pender, the 3rd Baron of Porthcurno and great-great-grandson of telegraph pioneer John Pender, his ancestors’ portrait hangs in the brand new climate-controlled archive facility which houses over 18,000 documents and objects.
The museum has attracted funding from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund, the Coastal Communities Fund, the Clore Duffield Foundation and Cornwall Council, amongst others. Heading up this support is the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) who awarded the museum a grant of £1.44million in early 2012.
The archive includes huge leather-bound, gilt-embossed, and marble-edged tomes record the working lives of thousands of telegraph workers around the world.
Rich fodder for family historians, they are contained in a high-tech space humidity and temperature controlled environment with a moveable shelving system makeing the most of available space.
The opposite side of the building is home to the Clore Learning Space, a purpose-built facility for visiting schools, colleges and community groups. Part funded by a £125,000 grant from the Clore Duffield Foundation it was designed by MJ Long of award-winning architects Long and Kentish, and will welcome school and college groups who come to explore science and history through hands-on workshops.
The opening of the new building also provided an opportunity to welcome the museum’s first Chief Executive, Mark George. Relocating to west Cornwall to take up the new position, Mark recently headed the Heritage Lottery funded development of Chedworth Roman Villa and has spent 16 years in various roles with the National Trust. His role will be to lead the organisation, working alongside the Project Development Team, to secure the long term sustainability of the site.