Royal Cornwall Museum

The Rashleigh Collection

Royal Cornwall Museum


What impresses me most about this museum is its collection of Cornish rocks and minerals. To a lot of people that may sound a bit anorakish, but I defy anybody with an ounce of interest in the history of Cornish mining not to be impressed as well.

In fact this collection is internationally recognized, and it’s all thanks to a collection started by Philip Rashleigh of Menabilly, near Fowey. Other collectors have helped swell the number of exhibits to over 16,000 – which unfortunately can’t all be shown at the same time.

Of course, the museum has other things to offer as well, including a Cornish Gallery which transports you on a trip through Cornish history from prehistoric times to the modern day.

The Courtney Library has 40,000 books, manuscripts and such like on Cornwall, and the museum hasn’t forgot the nature and wildlife of the county either.

On the first floor they’ve ventured further afield with some artefacts from Ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt including an unwrapped mummy.


The Ground Floor Gallery

Established in 1818, this is the oldest museum in Cornwall, but is bang up to date with its facilities including a shop and smashing café.There’s a regular turn-around of special exhibitions, and up until a couple of years ago it was free to go in, but these days, unless you’re under 16, you have to pay.

The present entry fee is £5.50 including a £1 voluntary donation! (Oct 2017).

I’m going to put my anorak back on again now though and advise you to venture in, if only to see the magnificent collection of minerals – and I’ll bet Ross Poldark’s wages that you’ll never see the Cornish landscape in the same way ever again.

Emerald Green Chalcophyllite from Gwennap
Emerald Green Chalcophyllite from Gwennap

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