Colchester: Cutting edge technology set to feature in redeveloped Colchester Castle museum

Embargoed to 0001 Monday November 7
File photo of Colchester Castle, Colchester, Essex, more than 9

Embargoed to 0001 Monday November 7 File photo of Colchester Castle, Colchester, Essex, more than 95% of the population will be within 10 miles of the Olympic torch next year as it makes a snaking journey to London's Olympic Stadium. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday November 6, 2011. See PA story OLYMPICS Torch. Photo credit should read: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Technology used to project huge images onto the Houses of Parliament during the 2012 London Olympics is set to feature in one of north Essex’s premiere cultural attractions.

Consultants overseeing the £4million redevelopment of Colchester Castle Museum have employed the services of a company called the Projection Studio, which is working on a series of large-format images that will be cast onto the inside walls of the building.

One idea is to map a projection against the scaffolding holes that can still be seen in the castle’s interior, in order to show a short film about how the castle was built. Another giant-sized animation will tell the story of Boudicca’s invasion of Colchester.

The project manager for the redevelopment, Tom Hodgson, said the projections would be just one of a number of cutting-edge devices used to show both the building and its contents off to best effect.

“We have a world-class collection and a world-class venue, and there are some exciting technologies that we can use to enhance the visitor experience,” he said.

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Alongside the projections, which Mr Hodgson says will be “communal experiences” shown at set times during the day, visitors will also be able to hire tablet PCs with digital animations of what the castle might have looked like in its pomp as a Norman castle or earlier as a Roman temple.

“It’s been 20 years since the museum last had a redevelopment, so even the showcases will feature better-quality glass and light systems that will improve the views not only of the exhibits but of the castle itself,” he added.

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The year-long redevelopment – due to be completed by spring next year – has been funded in the main by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has provided more than three-quarters of the money. Other funding has come from Colchester Borough Council, the European Union, the Friends of Colchester Museums, the Essex Heritage Trust and the Friends of Colchester Roman Wall.

The new-look displays are intended to tell the story of Colchester from its foundation more than 2,000 years ago to the Siege of Colchester in 1648 and will link to other heritage sites in the town, such as the town walls and Roman Circus.

Colchester Borough Council’s portfolio-holder for culture, Tim Young, said; “We’re going to have one of the best attractions, one of the best museums in the country and I think it will put Colchester back on the map – as it was, probably, when the castle was first built in the 11th Century.”

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