Interesting proposals have been released regarding improvements and alterations to Ipswich Museum. The plan is to reconfigure the internal spaces and to redisplay the collections; there will be new (rear) stairs, a new lift, toilets and a café to the left of the entrance which extends outside into the courtyard.

Significantly, the staff workroom north of the Natural History gallery will become additional display space and the new stairs will allow a logical circulation around the entire building.

The proposals rely on a £4.5 million contribution from the NLHF but they have already expressed strong support for the proposals (mid-term review, January 2021). The existing building (1881) is listed Grade II* and this grading will be protected and enhanced. (NLHF:  National Lottery Heritage Fund)

The Victorian Natural History Gallery is home to some interesting taxidermy (Rosie the rhino, and a giraffe) but also historic display cases. As you enter the gallery, Wool-i-am – the woolly mammoth – either welcomes you in or scares you off.  Too many young visitors were unsure of the beast and he’s being moved into a less prominent position.

The north wing currently houses staff workrooms and storage and it is proposed to bring this valuable space into public use. The staff will be accommodated in the 1956 extension. This is a logical and workable solution and will create a museum that is not only worth visiting, it will be worth going back to visit again.

John Norman, Chairman

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