Hunt is on for odd artefacts

WHATEVER happens to the UK weather-picture this summer, there's a few Suffolk attractions which will remain popular regardless.Ipswich Museum is just one of those – and this week it's exhibition organisers are appealing for your help in tracing some crucial artefacts that you're highly likely to have in your own attic.

By Debbie Watson

WHATEVER happens to the UK weather-picture this summer, there's a few Suffolk attractions which will remain popular regardless.

Ipswich Museum is just one of those – and this week it's exhibition organisers are appealing for your help in tracing some crucial artefacts that you're highly likely to have in your own attic.

IN the scheme of things, it's a rather novel wish list:

- One pair winkle pickers (any colour)

- One pair Doc Martens (preferably odour-free)

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- Selection of Star Wars Toys (no boxes necessary)

- Disposable razor (!?!)

Bizarrely, these desperately sought items form the mainstay of a new exhibition being planned at Ipswich Museum.

Intended to tell the story of the town, the event is being hailed as a magical glimpse of Britain, full of many recognisable and much-loved household items.

Not due to welcome the public for another fortnight at least , the colourful exhibition has been named simply 'The Ipswich Story'.

It will lead visitors around the first floor of the museum building on a spectacular historical insight, guiding them with the help of an events timeline that spans many centuries from the Ice Age to modern day.

The idea forms part of the museum's ambitious plan for the year ahead, largely centring on an intention to deliver a better insight into local social history.

"We've realised there are areas that we need to give more time to in the museum – and local social history is certainly one of them," said public services manager, Tony Butler.

"Running the Ipswich Story is our first effort in putting the accent on local history, and we're following it up with various other exhibitions over the coming months."

Soon after the Ipswich Story, the museum will be welcoming people to an exhibition of 'Ipswich at War' – a project which is already actively running in its roadshow format.

Mr Butler is excited about the launch exhibition for this initiative, and says the Ipswich Story is guaranteed to appeal to people of all ages.

"It's a project which really does contain something for everything," he commented. "It draws on various collections from the museum and encompasses geology, vast amounts of photography through the ages, as well as all aspects of social history.

"We've made sure that children are really going to enjoy this exhibition too," said Mr Butler.

"The museum is using a special cartoon character called 'The Ipswich Cat' who will appear throughout the various stages of the project, helping to guide youngsters from one era to the next."

With the opening of the Ipswich Story likely to be just a few weeks away, organisers have been furiously hunting down artefacts from all the featured years of the exhibition.

They've ransacked attics and collated numerous objects to tell the tale of our history – but their exhaustive search is still by no means complete.

"We've still got some way to go in our attempt to find all the various pieces we need," admitted Mr Butler.

"First and foremost, we want to increase our range of footwear through the ages, so we could do with some outside help from anyone who has the right shoes hanging around in their wardrobe."

Top of the footwear wish-list for the exhibition is a pair of the toe-cramming 'Winkle Pickers'.

These narrow-fitting shoes with their pointed toes were made famous in the Swinging Sixties. No self-respecing Teddy Girl would dare be seen without these on her feet.

Another shoe on the 'Wanted' list is the style made popular in the 1980s – the Doc Marten.

These came in all styles and colours and were exceptionally popular for many years…..but not necessarily with Britain's more conservative parents!

Also on the list but away from footwear, Mr Butler and his team are anxious to trace the following:

A Bakelite phone (typically seen in households of the 40s and 50s), copies of the TV Times, a transistor radio, Radio Caroline memorabilia, a walkman, Charles and Di material, Silver Jubilee material, digital watches, Star Wars toys and anything to do with this year's Golden Jubilee.

It's a detailed list, and one that's absolutely key to ensuring a colourful and exciting exhibition.

"These last few items would really help us to finish off the Ipswich Story properly," said Mr Butler.

"We've already got stacks of items from the different eras, but we'd be really pleased to hear from anybody who feels they could further add to our existing collection."

He added: "This exhibition needs to be something that will amuse people, inform them, and will also be something that they can relate to.

"We're very excited about the event and it's appropriate that the people of Ipswich should get their chance to be involved in the telling of their town's story – simply by digging in to their own attic."

Weblink:

www.ipswich.gov.uk/tourism/guide/museum.htm

If you can help Ipswich Museum with the latest exhibition, please call Tony Butler or David Jones on 01473 433550.

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