We welcome and rely upon volunteers to work at Poldark Tin Mine, Trenere Wolas Gardyn & the Cornish National Heritage Collection. Only for the many volunteers who have worked here during the last fifty years, we would not have a museum or a mine.
Volunteers are relied upon to help keep this ancient & historic tin mine, Scheduled Ancient Monument, industrial heritage museum and waterside gardens running. On most Saturdays [but not all] and on some other days we have several volunteers at the mine, grounds & museum who undertake all sorts of tasks.
During lockdown travelling locally to come and volunteer is permitted with certain rules being responsibly observed, maintaining social distancing and undertaking proper sanitizing procedures when here.
When we are open to the public friends & volunteers pop in from time to time getting to grips with a variety of projects or just call in to share a cuppa and have a chinwag. Some regulars from far away places spend a few days with us during their holidays in Corwall.
If you want to join our friendly team, please PM private message us on Facebook and hopefully we will be able to welcome you on a regular basis.
There is a special Facebook Page for volunteers known as The Volunteers of Poldark Mine, do a search and join us.
Gardening, museum restoration, organising displays, moving objects and cabinets are just a few of the tasks that crop up. We have been clearing buildings and restoring the gardens over the last years since the mine was rescued in 2014. There are many aspects of restoration that need to be done, and we are actively pursuing a number of projects to save artefacts large and small.
If you are keen on painting then we have many places where painting is needed, our red telephone kiosk needs painting and a new section of door fitted. Many of our buildings are wooden and need repairs and an annual liberal dose of creosote. Picnic benches all need to be painted each year, and we have plenty of windows that need cleaning, lots of brass and engines need cleaning too, from the beam engine to railway engines.
Working in the shop, ticket office or control, museum documentation, meeting & greeting visitors, car park managing, becoming a volunteer mine guide, making the tea, cleaning and polishing, painting, carpentry, general repairs, getting involved with our collections such as our six pipe organs, vintage telephone and teleprinter equipment, antique engines etc, are all chores which are part of our everyday life here. So whatever your interests are, we feel sure that we can find you a mini project or something to do for a couple of hours.
The museum buildings are of a certain age and most are in urgent need of repairs and decoration, there are many machines that need to be restored and looked after. Engineering projects such as the restoration of our Beam Engine, the Railway Locomotives (we have five in all) all need to be worked on. We intend to lay about 1/3rd of a mile of demonstration track in dual gauge to demonstrate the standard gauge Falmouth Docks Steam locomotive and a diesel loco from Devonport Dockyard, there are two battery electric locomotives that are two foot gauge and several mine skips. All need restoration.
Works in the mine are also required and these vary from week to week. We hope to make some improvements to the visitor experience and to repair the underground narrow gauge mine tramway for demonstrations which will extend through the grounds.
If you are musical, we have no less than six full size pipe organs, an electric Hammond Organ and also a Victorian Harmonium in the collection! The oldest pipe organ dates from 1831. Three of these are already assembled in the museum and three others are waiting to be rebuilt, all are historic and most were used in Cornwall. We have a small organ group of volunteers and if you want to just come in and play one of our organs - even for a short time - you would also be made very welcome. Putting organs back together is like a 3d Jigsaw, so no special skills are needed. Its JOLLY GOOD FUN.
Restoration of our ancient waterways is an important aspect too. The aqueduct is over one mile and a half long and needs attention as we wish to get our water wheel operational once again.
Gardening day is usually on a Wednesday but you can come in on a day to suit you. We welcome any assistance to tend to the extensive grounds, lawns and flower beds. The Woodland Garden is a project being worked on very slowly, so if you are a keen plants person, then we would be very pleased to hear from you.
Many of our mining tools and machinery are from the Holman Bros Museum and some are from the Wayside Folk Museum of Zennor - all of objects in the collections need to be maintained and restored, we plan to move two massive compressors indoors so that they can be properly conserved and perhaps placed back into working order.
We have an extensive collection of telephones, teleprinters, telegraph equipment and telephone exchange equipment and all needs to be presented and restored to be displayed in a new area which is one of our major current projects - so if you are interested in telecommunications from the late 1800s to the present day, then we will be delighted to hear from you!
The recreation of our village post office is another new project for 2022/23 and we have already amassed quite a considerable collection of GPO items to make this happen, so if you have an interest in village life, the GPO, the Post Office, or our Underground Postal Service, then we would-be be pleased if you could come along and get involved as a volunteer Sub Postmaster or Sub Postmistress, the last Sub-postmistress being Mrs Betty Wearne in the 1980s.
The Victoria & Albert Museum in London have generously donated 14 early Victorian cabinets that were used to display objects from the Great Exhibition of 1851 and they may actually date from 1851. These arrived in July 2021 together with a number of modern cabinets too. We are delighted to have these which will be used in our former tea room in the gardens. Most of our small objects will be displayed there together with the amazing collection of Mine Surveying equipment owned by the late Ron Hooper a much respected lecturer at the Camborne School of Mines for over 40 years. He died a few years ago at the grand age of 94. All of his collection needs to be sorted, cleaned and displayed.
Trinity College Cambridge donated a rather elegant oak displqy cabinet from their beautiful library in 2021, its very long and will fit in with our plans for the museum and be used in conjunction with the cabinets which came from the Staffordshire Regimental Museum for our hundreds of excellent geology specimens.
In summary there are many diverse aspects to the Cornish National Heritage Collection which will benefit from the care and assistance of volunteers, so if you want to come and help a worthy cause, please do get in touch.