There are some very famous museums in Cornwall, but also some truly fascinating hidden gems. Here are some of my favourite treasure troves of Cornish history and heritage.
This little museum tucked into the heart of beautiful fishing village Boscastle is famous all over the world for it’s intriguing collection of all things related to Wicca. Founded and run by real live Wiccans, the museum is run by a dedicated team of volunteers and is very educational. Be prepared to learn much more of the truth about this much misunderstood religion and learn about real Cornish witches and see some of the artefacts used for making spells.
Once upon a time, there was a huge mining industry in Cornwall — but it wasn’t only tin and copper. In the St Austell area conical mountains and vivid azure lakes appeared as a result of the China Clay mining industry. China Clay is used in everything from toothpaste to the gloss on magazines and was exported all over the world. Find out more at this brilliant museum and country park. www.wheal-martyn.com
Cornwall At War Museum
The Cornwall At War museum located on part of the old WW2 airfield RAF Davidstow Moor near Camelford is a fascinating place to visit. There is a do-it-yourself NAAFI on-site for hot & cold drinks, crisps etc with comfortable seating and WW2 newspapers to read. There’s a fascinating section on Animals At War, but do watch out for the sound effects. A very loud air raid siren will have you jumping out of your skin!
Housed in Helston’s former Market House and Drill Hall, Helston Museum has some fascinating collections, and this is an ideal day out come rain or shine. Inside you can find exhibitions about archeology and geology on the Lizard Peninsula, a huge social history collection covering everything from toys to gardening equipment from the area in days gone by. There’s also a large costume collection, exhibited in the Martin Matthews Costume Gallery. www.helstonmuseum.co.uk
Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing
A small museum located right on the harbourside of the beautiful fishing village of Polperro this little museum is a treasure trove of some of the most astonishing and true stories of drama and intrigue in Conrwall’s rich history.
It houses a remarkable photographic record dating from around 1860. The collection is complemented by a wonderful collection of ships models. There are also written accounts of some truly incredible smuggling stories, including dramatic chases on the high seas and the story of the smuggling vessel, the Lottery‘s involvement in the murder of a Customs officer in 1798 which led to the trial and execution of one of her crew in 1801. The collection is housed in what was the old pilchard factory until the early 20th century.