Ipswich Borough Council Leader: Councillor David Ellesmere
Ipswich Borough Council Leader: Councillor David Ellesmere

Last December lockdown restrictions forced us to close our museums for the second time. It is very welcome news that – after nearly half a year – both Ipswich Museum and Christchurch Mansion will finally be re-opening this Tuesday.

Our staff has been busy working throughout the enforced closedown planning exciting new exhibitions.

Opening this June in Christchurch Mansion there is a new exhibition already causing a lot of interest. ‘Power of Stories’ is based on Marvel Studios’ ground-breaking Black Panther movie. Ipswich Museums have pulled off a fantastic coup persuading Marvel Studios to loan us the costumes of three of the main characters from the film.

Visitors will be able to see a display of the outfits worn by T’Challa – the character played by the sadly missed Chadwick Boseman – Princess Shuri, and Okoye, the Wakandan army general plus Marvel comics, items from our Museum collection, and stories from Ipswich people.

Ipswich Art Gallery will also be hosting an exhibition this Summer that although very different will be just as fascinating. ‘The Moon: Meet Our Nearest Neighbour’ is a touring exhibition whose centrepiece is an actual piece of Moon rock.

Throughout the last year, a team has been working on a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the re-development of the Museum – including asking hundreds of Ipswich residents their views. If our bid is successful, it will mean new spaces opened up, more of our collections on display, a café and cloakrooms, new spaces for schools’ visits, and open spaces outside.

Despite the challenges of lockdown and having to work almost entirely via Zoom meetings and email the team is on schedule to submit our bid by the end of August.

Ipswich Museum is the custodian of some wonderful objects but, like most museums, what is on display is but a fraction of what is in its collections. A refurbished Museum will offer us opportunities to take some of the most interesting and exciting objects out of the storeroom and into public view so we can all enjoy them.

To hear the latest news on upcoming exhibitions, you can sign up to the Ipswich Museums mailing list at: www.ipswich.gov.uk/content/keep-touch-ipswich-museums

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