The Marvellous Mechanical Museum exhibition at the Royal Cornwall Museum

Royal Cornwall Museum

During the Easter holidays we were invited to go to the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro and visit their brand new Marvellous Mechanical Museum exhibition.

We were directed to an upstairs gallery where we discovered an incredible range of Automaton – handmade models that move when you push a button on the outside of the cabinet. The automaton ranged in size, complexity, theme and art style.

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My boys absolutely loved this exhibition and the humour in the mechanical models really helped bring them to life. My kids had great fun pushing all the buttons and watching to see what the models did, whether it was flying fish or an octopus wrestling with a boat!

Royal Cornwall Museum
Photo Credit: Naomi Jones

I also loved reading more about how these models were made and learning about their creators. It was interesting to find out about the links with the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre in Falmouth too. The creativity and imagination involved in these automaton was incredible.

Downstairs in the main entrance hall there was a workshop called ‘Curious Contraptions’ that was free to take part in (you didn’t have to book either). I watched children of all ages have fun making their own models. I asked, and this workshop will be running again in May half term.

Royal Cornwall Museum
Photo Credit: Naomi Jones

After we’d looked at the models, my boys and I spent some time exploring the rest of the museum. There was a gallery full of contemporary artwork upstairs which I enjoyed and a room full of Egyptian artifacts too, including a sarcophagus which my kids were fascinated by.

The Royal Cornwall Museum has lots of information and exhibits about Cornwall through history right up to modern day. It also has some fascinating mining and geology exhibitions and a large section on the flora and fauna of Cornwall too including choughs and sand dunes.

I was particularly impressed by how interactive the museum was for children. There was a Lego tray upstairs for children to play with when they wanted and downstairs there were Easter crafts, games and lots of hands on exhibits from dressing up to microscopes children could look through.

The museum is 200 years old and has over 1 million artifacts about Cornwall as well as key areas in the school curriculum like Ancient Egypt, the Greeks and Romans. In January it began a revamp which is designed to make the building more accessible and the exhibitions even more engaging.

Royal Cornwall Museum
Photo Credit: Naomi Jones

The Royal Cornwall Museum is free for anyone under eighteen and costs just £7.50 per adult although this ticket is valid for a year.

Located in the centre of Truro, it’s only a few minutes walk from the main high street. As well as being really family friendly with very helpful staff, the museum also has a small shop and is connected to the Arts Cafe next door if you need any refreshments.

I highly recommend the Royal Cornwall Museum for families. It was a lovely place to visit and kept my boys happily entertained for a couple of hours on a rainy day.

If the Marvellous Mechanical Museum exhibition has finished by the time you’re reading this, then do check out the museum’s website to see what new exhibition is on as they have an exciting programme of upcoming things to go and see.

Our tickets were complimentary but all views and opinions are my own.

Naomi Jones is an award winning author and mum of two. You can find out more about her on her website and read more of her writing here.

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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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