The Engagement policy sets out our aims and objectives and the standards expected regarding access to our services and replaces the previous ‘Learning and Access Policy’.
This policy covers public engagement provision at PK Porthcurno, which gained full accreditation in 2007. PK Porthcurno upholds a Diversity Policy and its responsibilities in respect of the Disability Discrimination Acts (1995 & 2005), Equality Act (2010), Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act, and other statutory workplace legislation.
This policy has been produced in conjunction with the Arts Council’s Inspiring Learning for All framework, Kids in Museums Manifesto and Access for All toolkit. This Policy should be read alongside PK Porthcurno Vision.
 Engagement deepens the museum’s connection to the community and beyond.
‘Audience engagement is a form of jumpstart for museums, adding new and alternative perspectives. It works to create a range of positive, stimulating experiences for audiences throughout their visit… including understanding pre- and post-visit experiences, and how to ensure visitors come back again.’
Adam Reed Rozan, museum-id.com.
PK Porthcurno also recognises that our engagement is more than our ticket buying visitors experience and that we need to be reaching out to our audiences and not simply relying on them coming to us.
‘Be accessible to all. Ensure all your visitors are equally supported and welcomed’.
Kids in Museums Manifesto
PK Porthcurno defines access as something that is made possible when physical, sensory, intellectual, cultural, social, attitudinal, financial, and technological barriers are removed. Enabling all visitors to engage provides opportunity for a broader audience and a feeling of ownership.
‘Learning is a process of active engagement with experience, it is what people do when they want to make sense of the world. It may involve the development or deepening of skills, knowledge understanding, awareness, values, ideas and feelings, or an increase in the capacity to reflect. Effective learning leads to change, development and the desire to learn more.’
Arts Council, Inspiring Learning for all framework.
This Policy brings the overall aims of engagement into the specific context of PK Porthcurno for the next 5 years with the need for reviewing at the end of the NPO project in April 2022.
Over the next five years we aim to be recognised by our peers as a leading museum experience and visitor attraction in Cornwall and the South West, and as one of the leading institutions of our kind in the world. From the Vision:
PK Porthcurno divides its work into three main areas:
- Collections Management
All these support access as the overall aim.
Partnerships and Outreach:
In line with the PK Porthcurno Vision our engagement aims:
Extend our reach:
- We will continue to work with our communities and partners (NT affiliation, CMP, NPO) to identify barriers and broaden our reach, both in person and online.
- Our new PK Pass will allow for new and existing community groups and local schools to visit that may not have had the resources to do so during 2020.
Collaborate and be flexible:
- We will collaborate; working with partners, volunteers and artists through commissions to support our collections, displays, formal and informal learning and be open to new ideas.
- Develop a programme of engagement activity that can flip with a change to the weather and audience as well as being open and responsive to the Planet PK green plan.
Specialise and maximise:
- Provide high-quality teaching that encourages observation, investigation and interpretation. Build trust and opportunity for ownership.
- Provide learning opportunities for all visitors through the development of the collections and our valley as a resource for lifelong learning.
- Use new technologies as a means of connecting people, reaching new and target audiences, including non-visitors.
- Digital engagement and the provision of remote access will allow for a sense of ownership that reaches far beyond the white Museum walls and the valley.
- Promote training and research:
- Provide all staff, volunteers and stakeholders with the relevant training and information about current issues and practice relating to Engagement.
Over time the Museum has developed four audience descriptors which are quite specific to this organisation though in a similar vein to the sort of descriptors that the National Trust have evolved. Our descriptors include:
- Rainy day/bored kids
- Know a bit and what to find out more/facilitators
- Knowledge seekers
- Own agenda
Our key audiences:
- Adults and Seniors
- Formal Learning (schools, colleges etc)/Informal learning (Families and Community Groups)
- Special interest
PK Porthcurno recognises there are many different barriers to access and engagement. We aim to reduce the following barriers: physical, sensory, intellectual, social and cultural, organisational and financial.
Our overall aims for access are:
- To provide a welcoming and friendly environment that is accessible to all.
- To extend access to PK Porthcurno through flexible opening hours, additional resources, events, and website provision.
- To provide remote access to our archives and collections.
- Ensure that all public areas of PK Porthcurno are accessible to visitors with physical or sensory disabilities and to provide alternative access to the collections in museum stores and working areas where possible.
- Ear defender friendly museum- Provide ear defenders at Front of House for any visitors to borrow during their visit.
- To follow our exhibition design and construction guidelines in the production of all text panels, exhibition guides, catalogues, information leaflets and other printed material.
- To continue to improve the intellectual accessibility of PK Porthcurno for all.
- To help visitors access their way round the specialist terminology that often envelops communications history.
- To provide in-depth access to the collections via one-to-one consultations with staff, surrogate copies of images, research, publications, and presentations.
- To consider the access needs of visitors from all social and cultural backgrounds.
- To engage with representatives from, and open a dialogue with, socially excluded groups to establish how PK Porthcurno can meet their learning and access needs.
- To improve users’ understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Maths (STEAM) and related subjects through creative exhibitions, events and projects.
- To maintain access through providing affordable admission for all visitors, subsidised learning programmes to schools with the NPO projects and PK PASS in 2020 as well as offering concessionary rates.
- To follow established guidelines and standards (such as those outlined in the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C] Web Accessibility Initiative} to ensure that PK Porthcurno’s web pages are accessible to as many users as possible.
- To work towards providing access to the collections in digital form, with an online catalogue, thesaurus, images, and interpretation .
- To provide both paper and digital catalogues on site for visitors.
- To ensure that access to all information on our website (and any subsidiary microsites) complies with the Equality Act 2010.
PK Porthcurno seeks to provide visitors with access to learning and engagement opportunities that are appropriate to their individual learning needs, whilst working within the limits of its financial and staff resources. With respect to learning, PK Porthcurno’s core audiences are in two categories:
- Formal learning: Students and teachers/tutors/academics in formal learning organisations from Key Stage 1 to postgraduate level in a range of disciplines and Home Education Groups.
- Informal learning: Users involved in informal learning including intellectuals, social visitors, families, as well as local history groups, specialist societies and local community groups and organisations.
- To establish a regular programme of postgraduate research linked to the Combined Universities of Cornwall and other interested Universities.
- To deliver hands-on, interactive workshops for formal learning groups as set out in the new PK Learning Pack.
- To design and deliver education workshops – based on the collection – for use with schools both on site and as an outreach facility.
- To develop resources to support group visits and access by embedding Health and Wellbeing across our work – pre and post-visit activity suggestions, our newly developed Scavenger Hunt and 184.108.40.206.1 trails for visiting groups, social stories, sensory and stimulation guide and online resources.
- To provide access to the collections and information to all for teaching and research purposes, both in PK Porthcurno and via the website.
- To be actively involved with STEM organisations such as the Institute of Physics, Cornwall Science Community etc. to ensure that we remain up to date with current initiatives, offer safe, practical science activities and can contribute to the body of knowledge about STEM education in a museum context.
- To take an active role in nationally organised events and campaigns that offer or support learning, e.g. Fun Palaces, Kids in Museums- Takeover Day and Instagram takeovers.
- For all PK Porthcurno staff to be open and friendly to all education enquiries, and willing to explore new partnership opportunities.
- To offer a regularly changing programme of PK PIONEERS and POP UP PK family activities during school holidays.
- To offer onsite guided tours, workshops and/or talks tailored to suit the background knowledge or specialist interest of community group visitors.
- To provide events and activities specific to NPO engagement and audience targets e.g. Relaxed Openings, Fun Palaces, Takeover Days and working with older people.
- To provide an exhibitions programme, on and offsite, as well as online.
- To provide an ongoing programme of public lectures and talks, hands-on workshops and other learning events on subjects related to the collections and exhibitions programme.
- To subscribe to the Kids in Museums manifesto and strive to meet our family audiences’ needs wherever possible and embed ideas around health and wellbeing within our offer wherever possible.
- To raise the profile of the collections and the resources and facilities we can offer.
- To provide learning opportunities for our staff to develop personally and professionally.
- To provide training for staff in meeting the needs of audiences, for example, people with autism, autism related conditions or dementia friendly etc.
- To develop family orientated activities for displays, school holidays and for annual events e.g. Golowan and Kids on the Prom.
- To use online engagement more effectively to increase the reach of PK Porthcurno access and learning programmes.
- To provide an interesting and stimulating range of publications and wherever possible plastic free products in the museum shop that will encourage visitors to extend their learning experiences.
- PK Porthcurno will consult a range of groups to find out more qualitative and quantitative data about users when possible. We will collect data about our users where possible to develop better profiles. We will monitor the profile of our audience to meet NPO reporting requirements and to assess the success of our drive to attract new audiences.
- Provide schools, colleges and groups with an online evaluation link after the workshop and respond to any comments that may arise.
- Give opportunity for all visitors to feedback on their experience in a variety of ways.
- Discuss findings at weekly staff meetings and find ways of implementing on-going improvements – both short and long term.
- Promote an attitude of ‘looking for solutions’ throughout the workforce.
- Compare findings with other museum groups and share good practice at CMP Learning Group meetings and Engagement Network Events.
- Review the Engagement Policy on a programmed basis to assess which new initiatives have been successful and which need adjustment.
- To continue to involve audience representatives in a process of consultation, research and evaluation in the development of learning and access provision, new exhibitions and other projects.
- To work with our learning audiences and partners to pilot new learning, access events and activities, and evaluate, as necessary.
- To provide participants in all formal and informal learning activities with an opportunity to comment on their experiences and to be responsive to their feedback.
We provide a wide range of services for our current users and are developing new services for new audiences. Our services can be broken down into the following broad areas:
- Museum open to the public.
- Onsite permanent and temporary exhibitions.
- Archive access – help and supervision to access primary resources in the Cable & Wireless Archive.
- Enquires service for distance enquires.
- Reference library relating to telegraph history – available on request.
- Cataloguing of our collections (ongoing behind the scenes): key to improving access to our collections.
- Annual events programme including Relaxed Openings, seminars, lectures and family events.
- Loans of parts of our collections to other institutions.
- Learning resources for formal and informal learning including:
- Onsite and offsite activities (games, dressing up, trails)
- Online resources
- Group visit resources
- Information sheets
- Collection database is available on site.
- Website: with access to information about PK Porthcurno, information about using our services, news, research guidance, our current exhibitions and displays.
- Professional advice to individuals, groups, and other institutions.
- Regular information to Friends of PK.
- Marketing Press and PR to make people aware of our services.
PK Porthcurno considers all user interactions to be potential learning opportunities and the Museum will proactively share its opportunities across a wide range of platforms.
PK Porthcurno has a separate training policy that covers providing training for staff and volunteers on customer service and diversity which should include awareness of access issues for different types of visitors.
PK Porthcurno reports key performance indictors and progress against Business Plan Objectives and collects other data for internal knowledge that helps us assess our improvements in all areas. The Performance Monitoring reported annually covers:
- Quantitative and qualitative outcomes of visitors to the museum and events
- Quantitative and qualitative outcomes in Engagement programmes
- The number of unique visits and online engagement with the website and social media platforms
- Audience Research
- Audience Development
- Access to the designated collection
- Staff Appraisals.
 Adam Reed Rozan is the Director of Audience Engagement at the Worcester Art Museum (WAM) in Massachusetts.
 Concessions are for over 60s, students with NUS cards and Friends of PK. We also offer a flexible family ticket.
 For a full report of website development see the Web Strategy in development.
 We aim to evaluate as much of our service provision as much as possible without overburdening our audiences or staff.