Royal Cornwall Museum’s £476,000 grant to create digital lab

Image: Royal Cornwall Museum's Mineral Gallery

The funding begins a three year redevelopment plan for the museum which was last year at threat of closure

Royal Cornwall Museum has been awarded nearly half a million pounds to transform its mineral gallery with the introduction of a digital lab.

The museum has received a £476,000 grant, the first funding announced from the main programme of the £23.6 million Truro Town Deal, first announced in 2021.

The revamped minerals exhibition space, situated on the ground floor of the museum, is expected to be completed by Summer 2024.

The investment forms part of a three year investment programme which is hoped to secure the future of the museum and attract more visitors.

The new investment is a turn in fortune for the museum, after a tumultuous period last year. Last July, Cornwall Council chose not to provide further funding to the museum, prompting staff to warn it was under threat of closure.

In October, the council instead provided transitional support, which was hoped to allow the museum to find a long-term funding solution.

As part of the Truro Town Deal, the new plan for the museum now includes improvements to its interpretation to include more connections to social history and nature, and further work towards the museum becoming carbon neutral.

The heritage building will also be renovated, creating “improved relevance of a key historic building, leading to increased footfall to the RCM and Truro”.

Jonathan Morton, the museum’s CEO said: “The mineral gallery houses an internationally recognised collection that’s hugely important in representing Cornwall’s rich history as a global mining centre.

“The digital learning lab will enable us to offer workshops and presentations, streaming content about our mineral collection to people around the world. It will also drive footfall into the museum by providing an interactive offer to our visitors and educational programmes.

Chair of Truro Town Deal Board, Alan Stanhope, added: “Royal Cornwall Museum was selected as part of our Town Investment Plan for the role it plays in attracting new visitors and enhancing the breadth of the cultural offer in Truro.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the digital lab in action and benefiting visitors both locally and across the world.”