Telegrams Collector

One of the telegrams donated to the Telegraph Museum during the project
One of the telegrams donated to the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno during the project
Detail from telegram
Detail from telegram
Decorative envelope from donated telegram
Decorative envelope from donated telegram

It’s been a busy new year so far. We are fast approaching the reopening of the museum, and there is plenty to do to get the display collection ready for public view.

John Wallis started with us as an Archive Volunteer in the search room over 18 months ago. He has contributed many hours on several different projects and recently completed a project with the Science Museum as a Telegram Collector. Here is his report…

Highly fascinating has been the Telegrams Collectors Project. The Science Museum in London and five partner Museums including Porthcurno Telegraph Museum have taken part in a project which has seen volunteers from each museum collecting telegrams across the country. Initiated by the Science Museum as part of their new Communications Gallery development, the volunteers from each partner museum were invited to London for a day’s awareness training prior to them organising collection days in their museums.

In Porthcurno, the success of the project has resulted from a team approach. Three Collections days were organised at Porthcurno, Falmouth Library and the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth. There were also home visits for those who were unable to attend the days. Some folk also brought telegrams to the Archive. A scanner and external memory was provided by the Science Museum for the project. The project emphasised collecting not just the telegrams, but also the story behind each telegram. The public response was thrilling with donors giving a variety of telegrams or scans for both the Science Museum and Porthcurno Telegram Museum collections.

I have and will be doing additional research at Bartlett Library, the National Maritime Museum Falmouth and via the Internet. Links were also made with the Museum in Kimberley, South Africa. I have been able to work with a network of other volunteer researchers and museum volunteers which has been very exciting and fruitful for this and future projects.

It is rewarding to learn that a panel in the Telegraph Museum’s regen area will be formed from these telegram scans.

A day was held in London when I travelled to the Science Museum with the Collections Manager to present a powerpoint of our work to the Science Museum staff and colleagues from other partner museums.

This has been a very rewarding project thanks to the teamwork at our museum, as each department has worked together to promote and develop the project. It is a pleasure as a volunteer to work as part of a very professional and dedicated team.

John Wallis.

Archive Volunteer

Telegrams Collector
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