Cornwall Museums Partnership ensures positive legacy

Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP) has completed the Arts Council England funded Transition process and has come to a positive closure.

The museum specialist body focused on securing a legacy of its work creating positive social impact for museums and heritage settings across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly since 2015.

Over the last few months CEO Tamzyn Smith, in collaboration with CMP’s Board, achieved a number of the objectives set when the decision to close was made including the planned ‘adoption’ of the organisation’s live projects, support for the team in securing new roles and, crucially, ongoing support for Cornwall’s rural museums and heritage organisations.

In January 2023, Arts Council England withdrew CMP’s conditional offer of National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) 2023-26 funding. In March 2023, the Arts Council offered CMP investment from its Transition programme. Transition funding is granted to previous NPO organisations to “assist them to wind down or move towards a new operating and/or funding model in a managed and orderly manner.”

CEO Tamzyn Smith says, “The findings of the independent business and funding review as part of our Transition process was highly unexpected, but once we got over the initial shock, as a team we agreed that we wanted to embark on this ending and closure in a new way.  We committed to making this exit an evolution, and to it being as positive, proactive, and human-centred as it could be. Importantly we set out to provide a positive legacy, and where possible, to find new, fitting, ‘adoptive homes’ for CMP’s invaluable work.”

As part of the closure, an innovative CMP project, Safe Access, working in partnership with Queer Kernow, will move to AIM. This R&D project highlights the risk to wellbeing that increasing access to collections presents, especially for researchers from marginalised backgrounds. This work is funded by NLHF via their Heritage Innovation Fund and supported by the Young Foundation.  As part of the positive transition, CMP’s Jenna Marrion will move to AIM to lead the project.

Lisa Ollerhead, AIM Director said, “We are delighted to support to the ongoing Safe Access project with Queer Kernow. Innovation thrives on breaking barriers and fostering inclusivity, and Safe Access exemplifies these principles. Thanks to the support of NLHF we are glad to give this project a home and continue CMP’s important work. Welcoming Jenna to the AIM team to drive this project forward is a great opportunity, and we look forward to sharing the outcomes of this innovative work in due course.”

An Arts Council England spokesperson said:  “Over the past 10 years, Cornwall Museum Partnership has laid firm groundwork for the local sector. We are pleased to have supported a thoughtful closure programme through Transition Funding and will continue to support museums in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for the long-term benefit of residents and visitors to the South West.”