Celebrating 200 Years: the Royal Cornwall Museum comes to life!

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It is damp and dreary but I have been looking forward to today for months so I was going to be put off. Walking up the granite steps into the museum I was immediately stuck by how bright everything looks. And how busy, my favourite little museum had really come alive!

I have been going to the Royal Cornwall Museum since the 1980s. I think every person I know who went to school in Cornwall has been taken to see the Egyptian mummy at some point. Since those school trips I have continued to visit regularly, to use the library, to hunt down an object I have read about or to attend a talk. But today really felt like a new chapter.

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The hard work of the past few months has paid off. All the familiar displays have been rejigged and reanimated somehow. They are better lit and there’s now plenty of fascinating interactive displays, things to handle, to get the mine racing – young or old. But by far the highlight for me was the new World Wide Wonders Exhibition in the quiet Treffry Gallery.

This room, usually reserved for functions, was an absolute joy. The room is filled with objects that the museum has had for hundreds of years in some cases and have never been put on display to the public before. Objects from every corner of the globe, brought back by adventurous Cornish men and women who made dangerous or ground-breaking journeys in to the unknown.

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There were objects from China and Tonga, India and Africa. A huge leg bone from the extinct Giant Moa bird of New Zealand, a tribal mask from Sierra Leone, a golden wedding coat from Albania and a magnificent wooden battle club from Fiji. Glass cabinets display collections from Papua New Guinea, China and the Navajo tribes of the US. Each object has a fascinating story to tell, of its origins, how it arrived where it is and the collector who brought it there.

Another highlight for me was the new Spotlight Gallery where you can discover the secret life of some of the objects in the museum’s care. With an estimated 321,000 items to look after only a tiny percentage are able to be seen at any one time and it is a huge task restoring, documenting and safely storing so many precious items of history.

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The founders of the museum wanted to inspire a passion for discovery and invention in us all and with these new exciting exhibitions and the reimagining of the original collections I really feel that the museum is embracing that ethos with a new found energy. I for one am looking forward to the year long calendar of events to celebrate this special anniversary of a very special place!

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If you enjoyed this you might also like: Falmouth Art Gallery: Andrew Lanyon and Nature’s Laboratory  and The Gibson Dynasty – Pioneers of Photography

 

 

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Box Brownie: The Perfect Reflection

I was given my first camera aged roughly 8 or 9 years old.  It was a Hanimex Auto Grip 110F which took those funny cartridge films.  It was small and clunky but I felt so proud that it was all mine!  Many of the pictures that I took subsequently, mostly of my cats and chickens, were blurry and at less than arty angles but I kept every one in an album which I still have to this day.

In my teens I moved on to my grandfather’s old Minolta and life became complicated in more ways than one but that’s a whole other story, I digress!

The reason for this post was a different kind of reflection all together. In short, isn’t there something just magical in the perfect reflection?  I just developed a new Brownie film and I felt like sharing!  I often feel that if you find pleasure in the small things the rest will follow.  So here are some of my recent reflections! I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking and developing them!

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I think I am literally in love with this image!  There is something about the scene that I find other-worldly, like many of the Brownie pictures it feels utterly timeless.

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This proves that I did go over and sit on the bench in the previous picture!

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There is a haze to this one, not really sure why because it was a clear crisp morning in Penryn but I love the gentle ripples in the water.

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Not a reflection I realise but its water and I just love this picture.  The swans had just been over to investigate my potential for snacks, I had failed to provide them with anything so they left in silent indignation.

I feel that my photographs are just as much as part of this blog as the stories that I aim to tell and those blurry snaps from 30 years ago are as much a captured memory from my life as these reflections above.

For more Brownie adventures try: Lady behind the lens, My Box Brownie camera, Adventures with Parralax Error! or take a look at some more images at Box Brownie Photos