Ipswich Museum has closed its doors to begin the first stages of major refurbishment, expected to last until 2025.

The museum closed this weekend to begin the works to the Grade II* listed building. It is currently cleaning and packing away its collections before works start to improve accessibility and create additional gallery space later next year.

The redevelopment, expected to cost in the region of £8.7m, is set to be complete by 2025. The project is backed by Ipswich Borough Council, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Friends of Ipswich Museum and various other Trusts and Foundations with an interest in local heritage and museum services.

The project is designed to both repair and refurbish the museum, and open up more space elsewhere in the building to exhibit more of its collections at once. The project is also hoped to provide better facilities for visitors and improved access with the introduction of a new lift and level floors.

Ipswich Borough Council said exhibition designs are in their early stages and further extensive public consultation is planned. The Council has said it will shortly publish details of how and when the public can get more involved in the project, and its plans for further focus groups of target audiences and stakeholders.

From spring 2023 and thereafter throughout the design process, there will be temporary displays detailing the developing designs as well as open days for public consultation.

During its closure, the museum’s learning sessions will be hosted at nearby Christchurch Mansion, alongside planned pop-up exhibitions.

Cllr Carole Jones, Ipswich Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Ipswich Museum, said: “I’m very pleased that we will be opening up spaces to exhibit more of our collections, and look forward to supporting this project, which will help ensure that our much-loved Museum will be a wonderful place to visit for years to come.”

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