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Colchester + Ipswich Museums is generously supported by a variety of funders, from specific project grants to ongoing, core funding. 

We also work closely with a range of partners, such as cultural organisations, universities and community groups. These projects enable us to deliver our programme of activities and better interpret our collections and local heritage.


Arts Council England

Colchester + Ipswich Museums receives core funding from Arts Council England, as one of it’s National Portfolio Organisations. Their support enables us to engage and inspire even wider audiences.

Department For Culture Media and Sport

Government support is enabling us to both welcome schools in person and bring the magic of the museums into classrooms! 

We are also able to re-open the award-winning Natural History Museum in Colchester, which closed in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund supports the current development phase of the Ipswich Museum Re-development, a project that aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, communities and people in Ipswich.

The Paul Mellon Centre

Supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Ipswich Museums are working on ‘The Constable Connection: Mapping the Artists Early Suffolk Foundation’. 
The project, which runs until May 2021, will result in an exhibition to mark the 200th anniversary of the artist George Frost’s death and the creation of John Constable’s The Hay Wain.

John Ellerman Foundation

The John Ellerman Foundation are supporting ‘Evolving Our Natural Sciences’, a 3 year project that will research and showcase some of the diverse natural science collections across both Colchester and Ipswich.

Projects + Partners

The University of Reading

Supported by an Arts Council Designation Development Fund grant, we are working on ‘Decoding the Dead’ –  a partnership with the University of Reading to conduct cutting edge forensic analyses of our Roman cremation burials.

Museums across Suffolk

The Transforming People to Transform Museums project involves fully-funded traineeships in both Colchester and Ipswich, as well as at The Long Shop Museumthe Museum of East Anglian Life and Palace House

Royal Opera House Bridge

Royal Opera House Bridge works to ‘connect children and young people with great art and culture’. With their support, Colchester Museums is developing new educational resources that will bring Colchester Castle and history lessons to life!

Walton Bridges

Colchester + Ipswich Museums were instrumental in a bid to help save this important painting for the nation. A rescue bid was launched in 2019 with Norfolk Museums Service, supported by major grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Art Fund and private donors.

The British Museum

In partnership with the British Museum, Colchester + Ipswich Museums support the Portable Antiquities Scheme, by hosting the Finds Liaison Officer for Essex. They are responsible for recording finds found by members of the public from all across the county.

The Association for Suffolk Museums

Summer in a Box supported the most disadvantaged families, children in care and young carers over the six-week summer holiday of 2020. The project included the distribution of 1600 activity packs to children and young people.

Museum Development for Essex

In partnership with SHARE Museums East and Museums Essex, Colchester + Ipswich Museums support fellow venues across the county by hosting the Essex Museum Development Officer. Their role is to advise on all aspects of museum work, from exhibitions to governance.

A toddler is looking through a wooden magnifying glass at a smiling adult in front of them

Ipswich Jobcentre Plus

Since 2015, Ipswich Museums and Ipswich Jobcentre Plus, supported by Suffolk Family Focus have been finding new ways to support each other’s customers, though events, careers fairs, promotion of volunteering and training opportunities and staff training.

Suffolk Family Carers. Living fuller lives. Young carers. Young adult carers

Suffolk Family Carers

Since 2015, Ipswich Museums and Suffolk Family Carers have been collaborating to create opportunities for young carers. This has included a Hallowe’en party, brainstorming exhibition ideas and other fun. Ipswich Museum is proud host of the Suffolk Family Carers Warhammer Club.

Logos for Arts LaOlam and Art Eat Events

Arts La'Olam

Arts La’Olam is a not-for-profit organisation working closely with amazing artists, producing dynamic events and advocating increased cultural diversity in arts programming across the UK.

Art Eat Events CIC is a not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to producing vibrant projects and events that celebrate visual arts, music, street food, and community.

Volunteers assembling activity packs in Eleanors garden

Museum From Home Activity Packs

Special thanks go to: Volunteering Matters, Suffolk Youth Mental Health Project, Lighthouse Women’s Refuge, Anglo Chinese Cultural Exchange, Suffolk Primary Association for Head Teachers, BSC Multicultural Support, YMCA and YMCA Parent and Child Unit, Suffolk Parent Carer Network, Local Virtual Schools List, Benjamin Foundation, Children and Young People’s Services at Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Family Carers, Suffolk Library, Pacitti Company, Red Rose Chain, tusk., Suffolk Archives, New Wolsey Theatre, DanceEast

A painted banner. The word 'VOTE' is written in the centre, over a design of the Queens of Diamonds playing card. Two modern women showing their arm muscles are painted in place of the traditional queen design


Trinity YMCA and Ipswich Museums have collaborated on projects including Women 100 and the ‘Museum from Home’ activity packs.

Ipswich Museum was pleased to welcome the YMCA’s youngest residents to under 5 play sessions.


A painting of a tree lined bridge with a building in the distance on the left

Art Fund

The Art Fund have supported both Colchester and Ipswich through funding, gifts and advice. For example, a grant from the organisation enabled the purchase of Constable’s ‘The Lime Kiln’.

A circular silver brooch with 5 floral motifs around the edge with writing inscribed in between

Friends of Colchester Museums

The Friends of Colchester Museums have supported the purchase of several important objects, from an Anglo-Saxon gold-and-garnet finger ring, to this medieval inscribed silver brooch.

A lifelike, black and white drawing of a Chestnut tree

The Friends of the Ipswich Museums

Incredible sculpture, jewellery, ceramics and paintings have been acquired thanks to The Friends of the Ipswich Museums, including this drawing of a Chestnut Tree in Christchurch Park by Guy William Eves.   

A geometric gold pendant with clear and red stones

V&A Purchase Grant Fund

The V&A Purchase Grant Fund support organisations to develop their permanent collections. It has enabled us to acquire a range of objects, including The Mountnessing Pendant in 2009.

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