Falmouth Art Gallery is celebrating after a Cornish consortium of which it is part, was awarded £1.5 million in funding from the Arts Council England.

The For Cornwall Museums Partnership, which is made up of the gallery along with the National Maritime Museum Cornwall also in Falmouth, Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, the Royal Cornwall Museum and Wheal Martyn, has also been awarded Major Partner Museum status.

The Arts Council described the partnership as “unique” bringing together two museums run by town councils and four independent charitable organisations to create a “dispersed model of excellence” mainly in rural locations.

John Orna-Ornstein, director of museums at Arts Council England, said: “The For Cornwall Museums Partnership is a great example of consortium working, with six leading museums coming together for the first time as a major partner museum, and collaborating with many museums right across the county.

This partnership demonstrates that excellence can thrive in museums at the heart of their communities and in rural areas.”

Henrietta Boex, director of Falmouth Art Gallery, said: “It is really exciting and jolly good news for Cornwall.

We are the new kids on the block and what we are trying to do is unusual. We will receive half a million a year for three years and that will make a big difference to small museums in Cornwall.”