Social media can be a powerful tool for museums; not only is it a way for museums to promote their collections and offers for potential visitors but it can also be a way of reaching those visitors on a more personal level.

Smaller museums, particularly Wheal Martyn, hold collections that are related to the local community in a very personalArchive - women working on the water jets way. As an industrial museum, Wheal Martyn is ideally placed as a centre for the community because many local people have family members which have worked within the china clay industry or live in one of the ‘’clay villages’’ that originally housed many of the clay workers and their families when the industry was at its peak.

Social media gives museums a chance to be social: to connect to and engage with that local community. One example of these two-way conversations that museums can have with their communities is simply asking for more information on objects that perhaps don’t have a complete record.

A recent example of this is one of our #ClayStories, an image simply titled ‘China clay pits, Bugle’ (banner image). Within an hour of posting this image, our wonderful local community on Facebook and Twitter provided a wealth of details, even the street name of the cottages near the works.

Many people offered stories of living in either Beam Terrace (the closest to the camera) or Gracca Terrace in the past. Because we asked, we also received the name of the workings: Wheal Rose China Clay Works and North Goonbarrow. This is a photograph that had little information stored with it and now we have a much more complete, accurate and informative record.

Wheal Martyn is lucky to boast an incredible collection of photographs once belonging to ECC. We have many images of various pits and the men (and women) that worked there. By themselves, these photographs are interesting and lovely to see, but it is the embellishments from local people – the stories of uncles and grandparents depicted in their youth - which make them truly special.

Wheal Martyn is a museum that really benefits from our local community and their collective memories and knowledge. So keep sharing your stories, your memories and your knowledge!