Past Projects + Exhibitions

Colchester + Ipswich Museums have delivered countless projects and exhibitions over the years.

Highlights from some of those, along with links to further information, are provided below.

Projects + Exhibitions

Landscape Rebels

(Christchurch Mansion, October 2022 – April 2023)


‘Landscape Rebels’ explored how human impacts, including the climate crisis, are changing the landscape. How has landscape been depicted by artists, makers and people from Suffolk to across the world? Can these Landscape Rebels offer solutions to the environmental crisis?

The exhibition brought together artworks by Turner, Constable and Monet, alongside natural history, costume, and global stories. Contemporary commissions highlighted ways we can engage with nature, art and our landscape.

A Virtual Meeting On Plio-Pleistocene Palaeontology Collections

(Online, November 2022)


This free, virtual meeting, organised by Colchester + Ipswich Museums and Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences (University of Cambridge), explored the Plio-Pleistocene; a hugely significant period of fluctuating environmental conditions, which has shaped our planet and its fauna and flora today.

Follow the link below to see the programme from the day and links to the organisations involved. Recordings from the three sessions will be made available in early 2023.

Wicked Spirits: Witchcraft and Magic at Colchester Castle

(Colchester Castle, July 2022 – January 2023)


Wicked Spirits? was an exhibition produced in partnership with the famous Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle.

Colchester Castle was a key landmark in the Essex witch trials. In the 1500s and 1600s, hundreds of people were imprisoned inside its walls suspected of being a witch. The exhibition brought the stories of those that suffered and lost their lives out into the open to make sure they are never forgotten.

Joy at the Jobcentre

(Ipswich Jobcentre Plus, February 2022)


In February half-term 2022, DanceEast, Rock Paper Scissors, Ipswich Museums, Suffolk Family Carers, New Wolsey Theatre, Suffolk Libraries, Britten Pears Arts, EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute, Art Eat, and Kimmy’s Zoo joined in the fun at Ipswich Jobcentre Plus. Together we created five days of arts, crafts, play, animals (alive and dead!), games, and den-building.

Norfolk and Norwich Festival Bridge commissioned the following report to understand how to create a Joy at the Jobcentre project in other areas of the East of England.

Decoding the Roman Dead

(Colchester Castle, July 2021 – January 2022)


Who were the first people that lived and died in Roman Britain’s capital city?

During 2020-2021, Colchester Museums worked with archaeologists and specialists to ‘decode’ the hidden stories of 40 of Colchester’s earliest inhabitants. Through new scientific research techniques, we reconstructed the identity and lives of these people: where they came from in the empire, what illnesses they lived with, and how they were cremated at their funerals.

Power of Stories

(Christchurch Mansion, June – October 2021)


From folklore to fake news, people have told stories for thousands of years. Three iconic costumes from Marvel Studios’ Black Panther were woven into a patchwork of storytelling traditions from across time and place. The outfits of T’Challa, Shuri and Okoye, which featured in the ground-breaking film, sat alongside Marvel comics and historic museum objects. Spanning music to movies, carvings to cartoons, the exhibition asked how stories have the power to shape our lives.

We worked with an external evaluator throughout the project and some of the key findings have been turned into our very own comic!

Crossings: Community and Refuge

(Ipswich Museum, March 2021 – June 2022)


In October 2013, an overcrowded boat carrying migrants from Somalia and Eritrea caught fire, capsized and sank near Lampedusa, close to the coast of Tunisia. 311 lives, fleeing persecution and seeking refuge in Europe were lost. Moved by the plight of survivors, the island’s carpenter, Francesco Tuccio, made crosses from the wreckage. The Lampedusa Cross carries messages about kindness, community and the indifference faced by many refugees. Alongside it, was a display of 12 tiny boats from, Syrian-born Issam Kourbaj’s series Dark Water, Burning World.

Ed Sheeran: Made In Suffolk

(Christchurch Mansion, August 2019 – November 2020)


Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk opened to coincide with the four homecoming concerts in Ipswich, which brought his record-breaking Divide tour to an end. It featured dozens of personal items never seen in public before, along with stunning paintings and sketches by renowned artist Colin Davidson and photographs by Mark Surridge. The exhibition offered visitors an unrivalled insight into the making of Ed Sheeran, intimately portraying his creative and musical journey, whilst celebrating his strong connection to Suffolk and its people.

Decolonisation + Democratisation

In 2020 and 2021, we hosted a series of live-streams over on our YouTube channel.
A range of speakers shared their thoughts and experiences of engaging with communities and opening up museums.

Adorn: Jewellery, the Human Story

(Colchester Castle, July 2019 – February 2020)


Between July 2019 and February 2020, the Chapel at Colchester Castle was transformed for this incredible exhibition.
From Bronze Age torcs to modern bling, people have adorned themselves with jewellery for thousands of years. What hidden stories do these objects hold and why do we still choose to express ourselves in this way? 

Kiss & Tell: Rodin and Suffolk Sculpture

(Christchurch Mansion, November 2018 – April 2019)


Kiss & Tell: Rodin and Suffolk Sculpture explored the tale behind the lovers in Auguste Rodin’s iconic life-size marble sculpture, The Kiss, and the work of literature that inspired it, Dante’s Inferno from The Divine Comedy. This monumental artwork, on loan from the Tate, is a significant piece in the history of sculpture.

The exhibition took you on a journey to uncover one of the most enduring themes in art – the human figure.

The Training Museum

(2015 – 2018)


The Training Museum was a three year workforce development project funded by Arts Council England.

Through traineeships, volunteer opportunities, schools activities, staff professional development and more, the service worked to open up the museum sector to new voices.

Transforming People To Transform Museums Conference

(Colchester Castle, 2016)


This event was a national conference exploring how heritage and arts organisations are reacting to new challenges through radical approaches in partnership working, workforce development and the use of museum and gallery spaces.

Colchester Castle Redevelopment

Colchester Castle reopened on 2 May 2014 after a substantial redevelopment programme. Many improvements and developments were made, creating a high-quality, exciting and fit-for-purpose visitor attraction.


Colchester Museums

With a unique mix of fascinating displays, the latest technology and hands-on activities, there is lots for your family to explore and discover across Colchester Museums’ three sites.

Ipswich Museums

Covering thousands of years of both human and natural history, there is so much for families to discover across Ipswich Museums’ three venues.

Where will your adventure start?