The Museum has closed for the season having welcomed 5168 visitors, with several group visits to come. We welcome group visits out of season whenever possible. Last year we welcomed 5010 visitors.
Our visitors came from all over the United Kingdom and from 24 different countries. The most overseas visitors came from Australia (61), many seeking information on their mining ancestors, followed by Germany (59) and the USA (52). Most American visitors came from California, and, again, many were researching their family history. There were smaller numbers of visitors from Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and single visitors came from many countries including Hungary, Portugal and Finland. Closer to home, there were many visitors from St Agnes, some who had lived here for many years but never visited before.
So many visitors commented on their warm welcome, the helpful information they were given, the help with family history and the enjoyment of the Cuckoo Hunt. There was particular praise for the surfing exhibition and a request that it remains for 2019. It will!
Here are a few of the comments:
- Very helpful information about walks and tides
- Extremely welcoming staff
- What miners endured!
- Should have visited years ago
- Came to visit my great great grandparents who have a headstone in the burial ground
- You made us and the kids so very welcome
- Inspired by the painted door, off home to get the paints out
- Interactive screen is brilliant
- Very interesting. Shame no large print or audio descriptions
- Splendid to see myself as a museum piece (Tris Cokes, surfboard maker)
- Came to see the surfboard exhibition – great, please, please leave this another year – friends from Aus and NZ will be coming
Museum stalwart, John Branfield, has decided to retire after an amazing twenty years as a Museum Steward. John will be greatly missed for his scholarship, warm welcome to all, and a gentle sense of humour, but we will still benefit from his experience and enthusiasm in many ways. Enjoy a restful Friday morning John!
John Branfield on his last day
Here are some of John’s favourite moments in his own words.
“It has always been satisfying to see the obvious enjoyment most visitors take in the Museum, showing their appreciation in their comments in the Visitors’ Book. I have been interested in foreign visitors, where they were from and what drew them to St Agnes. I have enjoyed the look of wonder on the faces of children when they see the size of the turtle and feel hope for the future in their response to the story of how this magnificent creature was killed by a plastic bag in the sea. I remember a beautiful drawing that a 12-year-old girl made sitting at the tiny desk, her response to the mining cabinet. Of particular pleasure have been the local people who have come in with stories of characters and places, and objects in their possession. In the last few minutes of my last morning I met a woman who has a sketchbook by Tony Giles – and who is willing to lend it to next year’s exhibition.”
St Agnes Local Improvements Committee has very generously awarded the Museum a grant of £1000 to purchase a small, very secure case in which to display small items of value and which we hope will be in use at the start of next season. The Museum is very appreciative of the Committee’s continuing support.
The Museum has just bought at auction in Penzance a fine, large pastel portrait of St Agnes artist Tony Giles, by Ken Symonds. It was one of a remarkable collection of 40 Cornish artists’ portraits painted during 1986, and exhibited at the time at the Art Centre Trust in Lemon Street, Truro and at the Penwith Galleries, St Ives. Among the artists painted were Bryan Pearce and Terry Frost. The Museum already owns two St Agnes paintings by Tony Giles and some recently donated memorabilia, so this will be a fine addition to the collection, hopefully on display next season.
Pastel portrait of St Agnes artist Tony Giles, by Ken Symonds
The Museum is so grateful for the generous donations which helped make this purchase possible.
The Museum is delighted to announce that it has been awarded Full Accreditation by Arts Council England. This will last for three years. The Museum has to achieve the same standard as large national institutions like the British Museum, despite being entirely volunteer-run. Well done to our Curator who spearheaded the effort.