Award-winning museums prepare to reopen across East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 19:00 23 June 2020

Colchester Castle  is being prepared to reopen very shortly following the government's easing of lockdown restrictions Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

Colchester Castle is being prepared to reopen very shortly following the government's easing of lockdown restrictions Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

East Anglia’s award-winning museums are preparing to reopen as the government eases lockdown and reduces the social distancing measures from two metres to one metre plus.

Christchurch Mansion is one of the museums which should be reopening soon   Picture: JULIE KEMPChristchurch Mansion is one of the museums which should be reopening soon Picture: JULIE KEMP

This means that art galleries and museums in the region can reopen – although at the moment no firm reopening dates have been announced.

Ipswich Borough Council which looks after Christchurch Mansion, The Wolsey Gallery, the Ipswich Art Gallery and Ipswich Museum are currently assessing the implications of Boris Johnson’s announcement before reopening their doors.

They said: “The Council is considering the implications of today’s announcement and will announce details of how and when its affected services will open in due course.”

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This approach was echoed by West Suffolk Council which looks after Moyses Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. No-one was available for comment from the Museum of East Anglian Life outside Stowmarket.

Meanwhile, Colchester Castle is being readied to reopen in the very near future. A spokesperson for Colchester Borough Council said: “We look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Castle and are working hard on preparations to ensure they can do so safely.

“This includes asking visitors to call in advance and book a slot, so that we can maintain social distancing and offer plenty of time for everyone to enjoy their visit. It will also mean operating a new queuing system outside the castle and a one-way system inside, guided by new signage and with hand-sanitiser stations along the way. Unfortunately, visitors will not be able to touch some interactive displays for the time being, in order to help minimise the risk of transmission.

Deputy Leader of the Council Julie Young, Portfolio Holder for Culture & Performance, said: “Closing our museums temporarily was a difficult but necessary decision, so we are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors back to the Castle, the historic jewel in Colchester’s crown.

“I hope people will be reassured by the measures we’ve put in place to ensure their safety and also the wellbeing of our staff and we look forward once again to sharing the many rare and exotic treasures the Castle has to offer.”

She said the council was looking to reopen the Visitor Information Centre as soon as possible, however, plans to open Hollytrees and the Natural History Museum are yet to be confirmed.

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