The Wheal Martyn Clay Works Museum is based within two Victorian china clay works, now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and tells the story of how china clay mining has shaped the landscape, lives of people and economy of mid-Cornwall for over 250 years. The completion of this major four year project marks the end of the first phase of an ambitious masterplan aimed at making Wheal Martyn a hub for the local community and a place for everyone to be inspired, recharge, and immerse themselves in the outstanding mining heritage of the area.
The project has been instrumental to rebuild visitor numbers after the pandemic and broaden the museums audiences, both of which are important to further the reach of the charity and ensure that the collections and buildings are effectively preserved and remain accessible for the long term.
A programme of significant restoration and preservation was undertaken of a large proportion of the Pan Kiln roof and the Mica Dry building – both part of the Scheduled Ancient Monument at Wheal Martyn.
The project creates a wonderful new gallery for temporary exhibitions within the historic Mica Dry building, enabling a changing exhibition programme for a wide audience. The interpretation in the Pan Kiln has been upgraded and new displays provided in the Mica Dry Linhay on the theme of transporting china clay.
A new learning and activity space provides modern facilities for visiting schools and an inspiring space for hands-on activities and workshops, whilst new outdoor learning spaces have been created within two former settling tanks.
For the first time since opening the museum now has a fully accessible route through the historic buildings, ensuring the museum is inclusive for all audiences.
The project recieved funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, The Pilgrim Trust, Imerys Minerals Ltd., Pennon Environmental Fund, Cornwall Heritage Trust, The Hobson Charity with support from Cornwall Council.