New Archive and Clore Learning Space officially opened

Lord Pender of Porthcurno has officially opened our new Archive and Clore Learning Space, marking the completion of phase one of ‘Developing for the Future.’

L to R: Tamsin Daniel, HLF; Lord Pender, Patron of The PK Trust; Dave Foot, Chariman of The PK Trust; Mark George, Chief Executive of Porthcurno Telegraph Museum.

L to R: Tamsin Daniel, HLF; Lord Pender, Patron of The PK Trust; Dave Foot, Chairman of The PK Trust; Mark George, Chief Executive of Porthcurno Telegraph Museum.

Following a celebratory day which saw a record-busting number of visitors, the museum has now closed its doors to the public whilst we continue with building work in the main museum buildings. We look forward to re-opening in summer 2014 with new visitor facilities and exciting new exhibitions.

“We are not closing completely. The new Clore Learning Space will open on special day for family events and activities, as well as our regular Ideas Cafe evening talks. We will continue to welcome school and college groups and we’ll also be holding community consultation sessions in the new space. Researchers who want to access Porthcurno’s archive are already benefiting from the fantastic new facilities including a new search room and digitisation facilities.” Rachel Webster, Communications Officer, Porthcurno Telegraph Museum

It is fitting that Lord Pender, the third Baron of Porthcurno and great-great-grandson of the telegraph pioneer John Pender, should unveil the commemorative plaque at the entrance to the new building; his ancestors’ portrait hangs in the new climate-controlled archive store which houses over 18,000 records.

Collections Manager Charlotte Dando shows a group of guests around the new archive store.

Collections Manager Charlotte Dando shows a group of guests around the new archive store.

The museum’s project to develop for a growing and diverse audience has attracted funding from the DCMS/Wolfson Fund, the Coastal Communities Fund, the Clore Duffield Foundation, and Cornwall Council amongst others. For a full list of project funders, see the museum website. Heading up this support is the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) who awarded the museum a grant of £1.44m in early 2012.

The opening of the new building also provided an opportunity to welcome the museum’s first Chief Executive, Mark George, newly in post. 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. Mark’s role will be to lead the organisation, working alongside the Development Project Team, to secure the long term sustainability of the site.

The new building has been designed by award-winning architects Long & Kentish.

The new building has been designed by award-winning architects Long & Kentish.

Latest photos from site

The new archive and Clore Learning Space is evolving at a rapid pace, and a recent site tour on a cold but bright day revealed the light and airy nature of the new space. With rows and rows of roller racking now in place, the archive appears hungry for the many thousands of documents, photographs and objects that will soon be at home here. With around 27 trades people currently on site, the building is already buzzing with activity and museum staff and volunteers can begin to get a sense of how the building will perform for visiting schools, community groups and researchers.

A behind-the-scenes event is currently being planned to coincide with national Heritage Open Weekend in September. Details of that event will appear on this blog as soon as they are available.

Got a question about the project? Here’s how to get in touch:
Media enquiries: Rachel Webster, Communications Officer
T: 01736 811915 E: rachel.webster@porthcurno.org.uk

Project enquiries: Henrietta Boex, Development Project Manager
T: 01736 810966 E: henrietta.boex@porthcurno.org.uk

Image

Looking back towards the main museum building, Eastern House. Photographed 14 March 2013.

Roller racking in the new archive space

Our Collections Team has been working for several months to prepare thousands of documents, photographs and objects for relocation. This space will be handed over to them in the coming months.

Search room and digitisation suite

The search room is where visiting family historians and academic researchers will be able to access archive documents. The space is also expected to be used frequently by the Local History Group.

Linking glass-fronted corridor from search room to Clore Learning Space

This linking area connects the search room and archive facilities to the Clore Learning Space. With one side of the building tucked into the landscape, the glass front makes the most of Porthcurno’s beautiful natural light.

The Clore Learning Space with v-shape roof and high-level windows

The flexible new learning space is filled with natural light, thanks to windows on both sides. The beautiful, heavy wooden beams of the distinctive V-shaped roof add warmth.

 

V-shape roof as viewed from main museum building with sea view in background

Stood outside the existing archive in Eastern House, looking down towards the new building. The distinctive roof design echoes the natural landscape of Porthcurno valley.