March 2024

Wheal Martyn Clay Works has been awarded funding by the Royal Society to engage communities with local science stories. 

Our museum has been chosen as one of 36 small museums across the UK to be awarded funding of up to £3,500 by the Royal Society in the latest round of its Places of Science scheme. 

Places of Science aims to celebrate projects that will evoke curiosity, interest and enthusiasm by exploring science in a creative way, while also contributing to the museum sector’s recovery.
Wheal Martyn’s successful project is called ‘Inspiring Cornwall’s Minds and Miners for Our Future’. Mining has truly shaped the local Cornish landscape and its people. Whilst china clay continues to be extracted in the area around Wheal Martyn, the potential for lithium extraction is also being actively explored – these developments, new innovations and science in the local area brings with it opportunities, hopes and, for some, concerns. Through this project, Wheal Martyn aims to explore the possibilities ahead with those who will help shape them and the potential future workforce of the evolving mining story in Cornwall.

Gemma Martin, Education Officer at Wheal Martyn, said: “Wheal Martyn’s engagement project will take our community on a journey of discovery, exploring our mining heritage and the science that has shaped it to date, and then investigating what the future may hold for the area.”

Gemma added: “We are delighted to receive this grant from the Royal Society! The funds will allow us to support local schools, offering an exciting project for young people to engage with their heritage and the science and technology that shapes our community and landscape. Through collaboration with our partners, our project will explore modern mining, our relationship with the natural world and how best we can protect it. We hope to inspire some of our future scientists and ecologists!”

Professor Russell Foster CBE FMedSci FRS and Chair of the Places of Science allocation panel, said: “We have such an exciting array of themes being explored by the Places of Science awardees this year, from the history of space exploration to maths in the Islamic world and the impact of climate change at a local level.
“It has been wonderful to see so many creative ways of sharing scientific stories that are both engaging and accessible. I hope these projects allow people of all ages to connect with science in new ways and feel a shared sense of ownership of their local scientific history.”

The project at Wheal Martyn is in the early stages of planning and will be delivered over the next two years, with contact due to be made with perspective participants from our community in the coming months.