The Power of Stories exhibition in Ipswich wins prestigious award

From left: Melanie Hollis (Curator at Ipswich Museums), Elma Glasgow

From left: Melanie Hollis (Curator at Ipswich Museums), Elma Glasgow (founder and co-director of Aspire Black Suffolk), Glen Chisholm (Community Curator for Power of Stories), Iszi Lawrence (comedian & show presenter) - Credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

The Power of Stories exhibition at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich has won a prestigious accolade.

The Museum and Heritage Awards, known as the Oscars of the sector, named the exhibition - developed by the local community and including three spectacular costumes from Marvel Studios’ Black Panther - best Temporary Exhibition of the Year.

The Power of Stories exhibition at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich. Picture: Danielle Booden

The exhibit features the costumes of Black Panther characters T’Challa, Shuri and Okoye - Credit: Danielle Booden

From June to September 2021, visitors could explore how storytelling has shaped our lives through history and across the globe, as well as see the outfits of T’Challa, Shuri and Okoye that were exhibited alongside Marvel comics and historic museum objects. 

The Colchester + Ipswich Museum exhibition was a hit, attracting more than 24,000 visitors to Christchurch Mansion’s Wolsey Art Gallery.

The Power of Stories was funded by Arts Council England and made possible by a community effort. Six community curators collaborated with the Museum’s team to create the exhibition, and a varied events programme was coordinated by Elma Glasgow, co-director of Aspire Black Suffolk, and in partnership with several cultural organisations and community members.

Elma said: "We are completely blown away by the accolade, especially as we shared the shortlist with globally-known names in culture."

The Power of Stories exhibition at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich. Picture: Danielle Booden

The Power of Stories exhibition at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich - Credit: Danielle Booden

"The Power of Stories is far from over. The tour will continue into 2023 in Suffolk, and with Aspire Black Suffolk being part of its legacy, the co-curation and power of stories themes will influence all that we do, be it Black history education, diversity and inclusion training, teacher training, cultural and arts projects, or youth leadership work. 

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"We're committed to providing a platform for untold stories of our unsung Black heroes."

Carole Jones, Ipswich Borough Council portfolio holder for museums, said: “What great news about this magnificent exhibition.

“It’s wonderful that this Ipswich Museum exhibition has been voted above some other excellent exhibitions from around the country at the Museum and Heritage Awards. This shows the quality of displays we bring to the town with the Colchester + Ipswich Museum Service and we will be doing similar in future.”

The exhibition recently began a tour around Suffolk museums, following the community demand for the costumes to stay in Suffolk.  

Power of Stories will be displayed at the Food Museum in Stowmarket from May to October, before heading to Snape Maltings in Aldeburgh in November.