Physics on the Foreshore

Project aims:

To train a sustainable team of physics buskers, and then deliver a four day physics busking festival celebrating the role of physics at Porthcurno. This project was supported by an IOP public engagement grant.


Recruit 16 volunteers for two days (one training, one busking).

Identify suitable activities from the 'Physics to go' pack and develop new activities based around light.

Train the volunteers in Physics busking.

Run a four day 'Physics on the Foreshore' busking festival in the Museum grounds and on Porthcurno beach.

Summary of activity:

We trained 10 volunteers new to physics busking on 6th August and recruited 3 experienced buskers. There were 5 buskers per day from 7th – 10th August, busking in a marquee or on the beach (depending on the weather). An estimated 1600 visitors to the valley were engaged directly in busking activities.

Evaluation approach:

The busking training and busking activities were evaluated through separate questionnaires for adults (visitors and buskers) and children (visitors only).

What went well:

1. The surprise, delight and engagement of visitors of all ages to the busking activities in the marquee or on the beach

2. The positive attitude to the IOP, Museum and physics from visitors of all ages generated as a result of the busking activities on the beach, whether or not they took part

3. The positive response from Museum staff, Museum volunteers and busking volunteers in terms of fun, interest, enjoyment, increased confidence, new skills and pride

What was learned:

1 Build set up time/shopping time into the volunteering commitment, as this can take a long time, especially when you have to clear the venue every night

2. Allow time for volunteers to chat, share ideas and make contacts: it�s an important part of the experience for them

3. Acknowledge that different volunteers have different skills and preferences when it comes to engaging with people and allow them to operate at a level that suits, whilst still encouraging them to develop skills and engage with people

Top tips and advice for others

1. Play to your strengths: what is there about your venue that might be particularly attractive to volunteers? Your location, the nature of the activity, the chance to combine volunteering with a holiday or other activities?

2. Don�t underestimate the importance to volunteers of free public access at volunteer-led events. If they have skills and enthusiasm that they want to share, the more people who can access it for free, the more the volunteers get out of it.

About this project


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About the contributor

Larissa Paver
Porthcurno Telegraph Museum

Learning & Interpretation Manager…

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