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Rodin's Kiss boosts Christchurch Mansion visitor numbers by 46%

PUBLISHED: 16:30 13 June 2019

Kiss & Tell: Rodin and Suffolk Sculpture exhibition at Christchurch Mansion.  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Kiss & Tell: Rodin and Suffolk Sculpture exhibition at Christchurch Mansion. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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Visitor numbers at Christchurch Mansion soared by 46% as a result of Rodin's Kiss sculpture, latest data has revealed.

Kiss & Tell: Rodin and Suffolk Sculpture exhibition at Christchurch Mansion increased visitor numbers by 46%.  Picture: RACHEL EDGEKiss & Tell: Rodin and Suffolk Sculpture exhibition at Christchurch Mansion increased visitor numbers by 46%. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Rodin's famous sculpture, The Kiss, was on display at the mansion's Wolsey Art Gallery after being loaned by London's Tate Gallery for six months from November last year.

The display, entitled Kiss and Tell: Rodin and Suffolk attracted an average of 5,500 visitors per month, with mansion chiefs confirming that the exhibition was responsible for a 46% increase in visitor numbers.

Councillor Carole Jones, museums service portfolio-holder at Ipswich Borough Council which runs the mansion, said: "We are really pleased with the numbers of people visiting the mansion - Rodin's The Kiss broke attendance records and we have Wonder Walls now and then Ed Sheeran's Made in Suffolk later in the summer to swell audiences further.

"It's proof that great exhibitions bring people into Christchurch Mansion - and our museum team are a huge asset.

Councillor Carole Jones said the exhibitions were an asset to Ipswich's visitors and economy. Picture: SU ANDERSONCouncillor Carole Jones said the exhibitions were an asset to Ipswich's visitors and economy. Picture: SU ANDERSON

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"They are knowledgeable, committed and trusted by major institutions like Tate and the V&A to exhibit nationally important art works in our Ipswich museums.

"Having a nationally recognised cultural asset is also important when it comes to supporting the local economy and boosting visitor numbers to Ipswich and Suffolk from across the country and beyond."

The data showed the mansion welcomed 61,282 visitors though the door in the 2018/19 financial year, compared to 45,130 the year before.

Christchurch Mansion's visitor numbers rocketed by 46%. Picture: MEGAN ALDOUSChristchurch Mansion's visitor numbers rocketed by 46%. Picture: MEGAN ALDOUS

School visits were up 30% at Christchurch Mansion, according to the borough council's joint museums committee papers, while visitor numbers also increased at Ipswich Museum by 12% and 5% at Ipswich Art Gallery.

Bosses for the museum and mansion service said it was important to change exhibitions to help give previous visitors a reason to return, as well as attract different people from further afield.

It is hoped the Ed Sheeran exhibition announced earlier this month will continue the upward trend.

The report added: "National media interest and follow up work by Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service has boosted the profile of Ipswich Museums and further loans from Tate and partnerships through the British Art Network is anticipated in 2019/20."

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