Museums in Ipswich target more school visits after growing interest in new education workshops

Christchurch Mansion is one of the attractions in Ipswich

Christchurch Mansion is one of the attractions in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Museum and Christchurch Mansion are aiming to work alongside more schools in Ipswich, after latest visitor and income figures revealed a promising performance last year.

Figures released ahead of next week’s Colchester and Ipswich Joint Museums Committee meeting have shown that while Ipswich Museum and Gallery had around 5,000 fewer visitors than projected, income from schools, events, hiring and retail exceeded targets by more than 40%.

Now, after school workshops were launched in September, the museum is aiming to get more Ipswich schools involved.

The committee report said: “School workshops introduced this academic year are gradually attracting interest.”

The report added: “More than 72% of primary schools from within Ipswich borough have engaged with the museums in Ipswich this academic year. The focus next year will be to increase this percentage.”

Museums portfolio-holder at Ipswich Borough Council, Carole Jones, said: “We are pleased with our increasing engagement with local schools as this is one of our priorities as a service. We welcome back many schools from across Suffolk and also want to see more of the schools that come to us only occasionally.”

The Egyptian workshop continues to be the museum’s most popular workshop, accounting for 40% of all visits, while a new prehistory workshop has attracted just over 10% of visits.

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Among the other successes highlighted by the performance figures were the February half-term events which included fossil fun days and interactive reptile and insect events, and monthly Thursday evening events such as film nights and art classes.

At Christchurch Mansion, around 2,750 additional visitors above the mansion’s target visited, but school visitor numbers had been impacted by curriculum changes.