An improved Ipswich Museum, with additional gallery and new educational space, a new café and improved shop area and toilets, will be in place by Summer 2025, thanks to a £4,324,800 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The £8.7m redevelopment project will restore, refurbish and improve the purpose-built Ipswich Museum to display more of the town’s collections; refurbish existing galleries and otherwise make things more entertaining for visitors. The museum will work with Ipswich communities and visitors to reinterpret the collections, gather new stories and create fresh conversations so people gain a sense of pride in Ipswich and understand that not only does the town have a rich history but is also forward-thinking about its dynamic future.
New heating, insulation and lighting will significantly improve the building’s environmental performance. Visitor flow around the Museum will be improved such as by raising the internal floor levels to remove the need for ramps and steps within the ground-floor galleries. A new lift near the main staircase at the front of the Museum will create improved access both up to the first floor and down to new public toilets in the basement.
Ipswich Museum is a late-Victorian, Grade II* Listed purpose-built building of exceptional significance as a substantially preserved example of a late Victorian/Edwardian museum, which opened in 1881.
Other funding for the £8.7m project includes £3.6m of borough council funding, £40k from Friends of the Ipswich Museums, £450k which will be raised through fund raising with Trusts and other charitable foundations plus £300k of various other including volunteer time.
Councillor Carole Jones, Museums portfolio holder, said: “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.”
Anne Jenkins, Director, England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “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.”
Councillor Darius Laws, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Business and Heritage for Colchester Borough Council, added: “I am thrilled to hear that Ipswich Borough Council and their Museums have been awarded a £4.3 million grant by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Our partnership approach with our friends in Ipswich means both Ipswich and Colchester benefit from shared expertise, knowledge and economics of scale.
“Ipswich Museum was the very first museum I stepped into as a child, and I cannot wait to see it restored and refurbished. This grant will enable a wonderful space for the local community, which will inspire and educate future generations.”
Image above shows artist's impression of the new Stories Gallery stories wall.