Inside the town’s historic and beloved Moot Hall, which dates from the 16th century, a key challenge was to protect the fabric of this Grade I listed Tudor building while refreshing the Museum’s exhibition space for the local community. Additionally, works had to be completed around the day-to-day operations of a Town Council Office – housed in the same building – and protect the health and safety of the site’s users and personnel.
A moot hall or moot hill is a generic term dating from Anglo-Saxon England meaning a meeting or assembly building, traditionally a place to decide local issues. Aldeburgh’s Moot Hall is of considerable historical significance to the local area – one of the UK’s most important timber-framed public buildings, which has been used for council meetings for over 400 years.
The trustees and volunteers at Aldeburgh Museum within Moot Hall wished to breathe new life into their old displays so that their unique collections continued to give an insightful view into the lives of the people of Aldeburgh past and present. The Museum tells the history of the local area through a diverse range of artefacts – stories of witches, smuggling, shipbuilding and famous and notable people associated with the town.
Given its seaside location, much of the Museum’s theme is also associated with Life at Sea, with a collection of exquisite model boats and fishing artefacts, plus a section of the Museum is dedicated to Oral Histories of those who have lived in the town.
Elmwood Projects were appointed in early 2019 to deliver the building restoration and fit-out works in close design coordination with the client design team.
Over a phased programme, works consisted of bespoke setwork walls with integrated AV, lecterns and support plinths, MDF structures and non-conservation grade display cases. Elmwood took care to manufacture the setworks with precision to take into account the building’s subsidence and to fit within its unique structure. The firm was also responsible for managing the electrical, power and lighting installation, graphics and decoration works; a complex and wide-ranging project.
The Museum reopened to the public following the completion of the works and its new look was extremely well-received by visitors if a recent TripAdvisor review is anything to go by. “Well, what a change. Now you can learn about the building and its use as a council chamber. Also much more about the history of the town with a clever use of digital techniques. Well worth a visit.”