Helston's Museum of Cornish Life has been given a Heritage Emergency Fund grant of £90,900 by the National Lottery to help it through the unforeseen effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The grant will be used to make major alterations to the museum’s shop and reception, opening up the space to make it easier for visitors to socially distance.

It also provides the museum, run by independent charity the South Kerrier Heritage Trust, with funds to buy IT equipment to offer a new online ticketing system and shop sales, extra cleaning equipment, a vital lift repair and PPE for its team of volunteers.

Work on the project is set to begin immediately and regular visitors may notice a shift of location for objects and amenities. New homes are being found for the museum’s shop cases within the building and the large drums will be taken down and redistributed.

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Project work will take place throughout November, but the Museum of Cornish Life will remain open, using a side door entrance most commonly used for the dancers on Flora Day. There will also be a pop-up reception and shop in the Cornish Fireplace and Denzils Den.

Museum director Annette MacTavish said: “We are so very thankful to have received this significant funding grant from the National Lottery in this unusual and unsettling time for the heritage sector.

“This support will help the museum not only to survive but thrive, with ambitious new plans to create the safest possible welcome for our visitors and volunteers.

Falmouth Packet:

Director of the Museum of Cornish Life Annette MacTavish when she arrived in 2017

“Our thanks also goes out to all of the National Lottery players for making the funding possible and we look forward to welcoming visitors every weekday from 10am to 4pm; simply book your free slot online ahead of your visit.”

Visitors can now pre-book their free slot for the museum online at museumofcornishlife.co.uk/visit.

Visiting slots are designed 20 minutes apart with each slot designated for a single booking for households or social bubbles of no more than six people. Face masks are required, and there are regular sanitation and cleaning points, with a one-way system.

From April 2019 to March 2020 the museum welcomed more than 23,000 visitors, with more than 2,000 children taking part in formal education workshops and the museum's memory boxes used by more than 1,000 people in schools, colleges and residential homes.

The Museum of Cornish Life houses one of the largest social history collections in the South West, and ranges from archaeological evidence of the earliest settlers to the Lizard Peninsula, to a fully stocked 1950s kitchen.