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On March 10, 2020 I spent a day at Wheal Martin learning about using my smartphone to make a video.   During the day I  gained some confidence about using my phone for this purpose and working with Claire English, I came home with some clips to use in my video I am submitting as evidence of my journey as a citizen curator. We were shown how to hold the phone when filming, how to edit on the phone and given plenty of tips and tricks.

I filmed some clips of another participant and she filmed some of me: most of these were useful for my video for evidence of my journey as citizen curator.

I taught myself how to use iMovie and laboriously compiled a video of my project. Here is the link to it:


Visiting Shelterbox

Unfortunately, because of either other commitments, this was the first of the optional visits I could go to. ShelterBox is a charity based in Cornwall that helps people in any part of the world where there has been a natural disaster such as flooding or earthquakes, or a war zone where a shelter box would help. The charity has a visitor centre in Truro and that is where the visit took place with other citizen curators.




It was interesting to visit a centre that is not a museum, yet wants to attract the public in. The displays were there to appeal to families and adults.


We played the game of filling. a box with all the contents sent to a disaster area. This includes tent, groundsheet, water bottle, warm blankets stove, cutlery, warm clothing, and tools.

It was interesting to hear how the displays are placed to guide people around the exhibition in a certain direction. After the game, there was a mock-up of a house hit by a tornado that brought the message home powerfully about the help offered by ShelterBox.

Out of the wilderness

Beginning to feel clearer about what to do for my short video. Yesterday Core session 5 was about the presentation of the project with special emphasis on video. This included storyboarding and having a catchy title.

Not forgetting either that narration needs to be informative while catching the imagination of the viewer with humour too.

I’m considering a suggested title – ‘a dog bit off my nose’ to the slightly more representative title of ‘ PK: a medical miscellany’.


We watched a short video of John Berger ‘ A Way of seeing’ and discussed how museums present ‘an expert view of a painting that stops the viewer interpreting in their own way. The Riks Museum in Amsterdam sold a child’s toy as a way for children to model a painting.

Intriguing stories

Following leads and hearing stories about their time in Cable and Wireless. I’m gathering random information:  from the short questionnaire:  

and from Facebook, PK Remembered group.

Now I’m mulling over how to present some of it in a short video. Gathering photos and experimenting with iMovie to make the video! Would love to browse photos in the archives. I wonder if there is a photo of one or more of the college nurses.

I’ve chatted to some volunteers who meet each week at the Museum to keep the machines in working order and keep the PK community alive with their reminiscences.

Keeping the machines working well and reminiscing about the old times


Thinking about communities

An interesting and thought-provoking session in Falmouth. We discussed what is a community; communities: those we belong to and the communities that Museums are for and those communities that are excluded from visiting Museums.

We listed communities such as work-based sports, those with similar life experiences, and more. Then we discussed some who might be excluded from museums perhaps because of their perception of who Museums are for, access challenges,  or language.

Most Museums in Cornwall do not cater enough for locals rather than tourists because they are expensive and are closed during the winter. They do not recognise many people in Cornwall who have a visual impairment or are blind or those that use a wheelchair and those with neuro-diversity.


It was interesting to realise that after English the most spoken languages in Cornwall are Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese because of the reliance of the agricultural sector on those who come to work in Cornwall. Yet there is little representation of this in our Museums.

There are many untold stories: such as the story of illness in students who came to Porthcurno and were sent all over the world to work and train others in telegraphy.

Feeling more positive

A few days ago we (myself and the other citizen curators based in Porthcurno Museum ) met with Tehmina to discuss our progress or lack of it! It was very useful to hear what each of us was exploring and to hear some feedback too. A big challenge is keeping the project do-able within the next couple of months.

I’m gathering somewhat random information about illness and have found some interesting things from the archives, including the book given to those about to go abroad for the college: 64192112-D2BE-4119-8549-270009CADE85_1_201_a

Also, the Facebook group: PK Remembered has provided me with several useful pieces of information and anecdotes.

At the meeting, we also discussed making a short video and I feel not only more positive about this but also want to make this myself using iMovie, (or at least have a go at doing so!)

Using facebook for information

I discovered a public group on Facebook called PK remembered. It’s a group for all those who were at Porthcurno(PK) for whatever reason during the Cable and Wireless Telecommunication P.K. College occupation.

I contacted several people from the site via messenger with the following message:

I found your name on Facebook and as you commented on a post in the  PK remembered Group. I wonder if you have some personal stories you would be willing to share?

Would you, or someone you could refer me to, help me with a project with which I’m involved.

I live in Porthcurno near the Telegraph Museum. A few months ago, I joined a 6 months’ programme based at the museum, called ‘citizen curators.’

This programme enables volunteers attached not only to Porthcurno but to several museums in Cornwall, to learn about museums and how they reflect life in Cornwall. By the end of the six months, we are expected to produce some information about the museum or local community and produce a short video about what we discover.

As a retired doctor, I am interested in the health and well-being and illnesses of the students who came to Porthcurno to study and of the people sent overseas to work for the company. However, there is very little information the archives about these things so I’m hoping to find a few people willing to share their experiences.

Can you help me? I’m interested in anecdotes and information such as:

  • what illnesses people had while they were students in Porthcurno?
  • who treated them?
  • What did people die from?
  • What advice did people travelling overseas receive about illness?
  • Anything else in relation to illness and medical services that you have heard about

If you or someone close to you was a student at the college in Porthcurno – please share a few memories!

I also added a survey on the group and 17 people responded.

Can you help by answering a few questions about your time at Porthcurno?

Oh no!

I set out to look around the Museum in case there are any displays relevant to my project. Also wanted to buy a copy of the book I could not take home to read over the holiday week. There are copies for sale in the shop I was told. A closed museum greeted me despite the facebook page saying museum open now.

I was not the only disappointed visitor: A couple was there too. They had driven from the Midlands especially to visit the Museum and had never been there before.

Feeling a bit more positive about the project

I searched Facebook and found a public group called PK Remembered and have contacted several of the people posting there. Some have already responded with names and memories of their time in Porthcurno.  So I’m feeling more hopeful now about the project.

I’ve learned that there was a college nurse. There were many cases of measles in the 1970s (that would be before they gave the MMR jab).

My aim in the new year is to talk to at least 2 people who were at the college and still come to work or volunteer there. Also, speak to two friends whose fathers were at the college.

I’m finding that learning about the social history of PK is very interesting – my challenge is to keep the information I gather connected and relevant and contained in a short video!



Getting rather frustrated but some possibilities

I went into the Museum a few days ago and chatted with two other Citizen curators about a possible project and how to proceed. I feel as though I’ve reached a blank wall as far as my desired project to find out about the health and wellbeing of the students at the college in Porthcurno.

I looked for interesting articles so wondered about finding a few anecdotes in relation to health as my project.   Something that frustrates me is that I’m spending hours looking at the interesting but random text. For a video, I need images but not finding them. I asked Duncan what the process is for storing any information for my project, but he wasn’t very helpful. He suggested I note where the information is so I could go back to it. Then the question of audio: he said I need to write a script. I took some photos of articles on my phone.

This lady came with her husband from Fiji. She cooked delicious curries so soon cooked for many other students in Porthcurno who missed their native food.






This lady had a grant from the college for plastic surgery to repair her damaged nose a dog had bitten.







The other students and Mary, a former director of the Museum who was visiting that afternoon were all very helpful with suggestions about contacting some older volunteers and asking for stories of their time as students at the college.

Mary showed me a book ‘Voices Over the Horizon’ that she thought might be useful. It’s full of stories from people who were at the college at Porthcurno. Mary thought there were lots of copies  I would love to read it but was told I would have to read it when in the building and I am not allowed to borrow it to read at home. More frustration. I went back the next day but was again told that I could not take it home.

However, the museum shop is open tomorrow so I plan to buy it there.

There are so many interesting possibilities for research but the challenge is to home into a tiny aspect of the subject as there are only 3 months left and it is not research for a master’s degree.