Friday, August 13, 2010

More re new Ipswich exhibit

EADT24 (Steven Russell)

Ipswich Museum, proud to celebrate the past, is also very much looking to the future. Steven Russell visits its new Egyptian gallery and hears about exciting dreams

“We’re hoping that in the next couple of years we’re going to put in a Heritage Lottery Fund bid to completely redevelop the museum – all of it; the entire footprint – which would be really exciting,” says Caroline McDonald, curator of archaeology. “To get people engaged with that idea, you have to say ‘This is what we can achieve.’ So with Egypt, what we are saying is ‘This is what we want the entire museum to look like in future. As the museum changes over the years, come along with us on that journey. Have input.’

“The only reason we’ve survived since 1853 is that we’ve changed with the times. And now it’s time for change again. So we’re looking ahead.”

Thoughts are at a very, very early stage, “but one idea is to have a glass roof between the main building and one of its wings, and create a glass atrium, like the British Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum, and have a very light and airy space.”

The curator recognises the pressure on the public purse during these turbulent times, “but it’s at that point that people shouldn’t give up on their heritage. It’s very easy to say ‘Oh, we’ll save money by cutting heritage, culture and the arts’, but people always regret it when the good times roll back.

“Society is about its healthcare and its social responsibility, but art and culture plays a huge part. It’s about where you live and pride in where you live, and who you are. If you forget that when times are tough... As Ipswich faces tough times, it has to cling on to its sense of identity. And we do that here at the museum.”

No comments: