This project is a huge opportunity to make Ipswich Museum a more relevant, exciting, and welcoming place to visit, as well as restoring the beautiful Victorian building the museum is housed in.  We’ll be reinterpreting Ipswich Museum’s rich and diverse collections by working with our visitors and local communities to tell new stories to inspire and engage the next generation of the museum’s visitors.

The Museum will be closed during the redevelopment works and is set to reopen in 2025. Whilst the museum is closed we’re still running popular events at Christchurch Mansion, to find out what’s on visit Colchester+Ipswich Museums website.

You can still view our exciting collections online on the Colchester+Ipswich Museums website.

The Ipswich Museum redevelopment project is an important opportunity to restore and refurbish the fabric of this grade II* listed purpose-built museum building and to ensure our visitor facilities are up to date.

We will also be refreshing our gallery displays and updating the interpretation of our collections.  This redevelopment will allow us to better use the space within the existing building, creating more exhibition areas and extra space to display even more of our wonderful collections, from much-loved objects to those from the museum’s stored collections. Designs for the new galleries are in their infancy and the team are working with stakeholders, and experts to shape these plans, identify the objects to be displayed, and better tell their stories.

So far, our consultation has explored barriers to engagement, what audiences want to see, do and feel, and tested areas of interest and themes.  We were disappointed to discover that many people don’t know about the museum or engage with it at all. For those that do, there is a much affection and love for the Victorian presentation of animals in the central atrium which is special and no-one wants to lose.

We were also told the displays look tired and many people don’t see the museum representing their community or their lives today. One of the major criticisms was that the museum lacks a strong, coherent story representing the history of Ipswich and its place in Suffolk, the UK and the world, about trade and exploitation, and how it made its money.

We will be continuing our consultation with heritage groups, schools, local community groups, individuals and our exhibition designers and staff to work together to understand our communities’ needs, interests and wishes, as well as create opportunities to gather new knowledge, stories and experiences of Ipswich.

This will help shape how the displays in the refurbished museum look and the stories we tell.

We are delighted to receive this support thanks to National Lottery players. This redevelopment will do something really special and imaginative with our wonderful collections in a building that was specifically designed to showcase them to the public. We are looking forward to working with the people of Ipswich and the Heritage Fund to inspire a new generation through Ipswich Museum.”

Councillor Carole Jones,
Ipswich Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Museums

We are delighted to support Ipswich Museum with its ambitious project to redevelop its museum and reinterpret its collections. With thanks to National Lottery players, this project will enable the museum to bring their amazing collections to life in new ways and be much more engaging for local people and visitors alike. It will showcase Ipswich’s rich history in a way that everyone can enjoy and be proud of.”

Anne Jenkins,
Director, England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Get Involved

There will be lots of opportunities to get involved with the Ipswich Museum redevelopment project throughout the process.

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