Constantine Museum volunteers and supporters gathered to witness the presentation of the Arts Council Museum Accreditation certificate by Bryon Robbins, the Cornwall Museum Development Officer, to Management Committee Chairman Jacqui Hessing. The presentation marked the culmination of three years of work by the team of volunteers who drafted policies and ensured practice met the exacting national standards.
Bryon Robbins said that Museum team had done very well to achieve the national standards which also apply to the British Museum and other similar national institutions. Jacqui Hessing in receiving the certificate thanked the team, led by Tracey Clowes, the Honorary Curator from 2005 – 2013 for establishing sound foundations which the current team had been able to build on. She also thanked Katie Herbert, the museum’s mentor, for her support and the Collection Coordinator, Don Garman, for providing leadership, undertaking much of the policy drafting and liaising with the Arts Council.
The application for accreditation was submitted in May 2015 but a backlog meant that an assessor did not begin work on the application until January 2016. In February the assessor visited the museum and put volunteers through their paces checking that the cataloguing system worked effectively, that items were stored appropriately and that emergency processes were in place in the case of a disaster. A further delay then occurred whilst the relationship with the Museum’s parent body, the Constantine Enterprises Company, were clarified.
Achieving accreditation confirms to the public that the museum is sustainable in the long term, manages and cares for items that are loaned and donated properly and is focussed on ensuring users have a positive experience.
The Constantine Museum, located alongside the Tolmen Centre, in Fore Street, seeks to interpret the long economic and social history of this large Cornish parish, which once, until boundary changes in 1986, included parts of Mawnan Smith and Gweek. Copper and tin mining and granite quarrying are celebrated as these were major sources of income and employment in the past. In 1901 the majority of male residents in Fore Street were employed in the quarries. Quays were constructed on the north bank of the Helford to ship granite, the most successful being Port Navas.
The Museum was originally established in the Methodist Chapel’s vestry by members of the Constantine History Group led by Ronnie Rashleigh in the 1990s . Following the sale of the Chapel the collection was transferred to the Constantine Enterprises Company, a not for profit community organisation. For some years, from 2005, the museum was known as the Constantine Heritage Collection but the name was changed in 2013 to the Constantine Museum.
The museum has a library of books most of which reference Constantine and a growing archive. Visitors of all ages, groups and researchers always receive a warm welcome.