Colchester Castle Redevelopment
Colchester Castle Redevelopment and Norman Connections Project
Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service is working on a £4.2m project to redevelop Colchester Castle. The project is being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Colchester Borough Council, European Regional Development Fund, Friends of Colchester Museums, Essex Heritage Trust and Friends of Colchester Roman Wall.
The main aims of the project are to:
- Ensure the continued viability of Colchester Castle as a top quality visitor attraction by improving the quality of the overall visitor experience
- Repair the roof and upgrade the heating system in such a way that the building works are an example of best practice in integrating the requirements of conservation and the environment in a historic building
- Present the archaeology and history of Colchester from the origins of the town in the Iron Age to the Civil War Siege of Colchester in 1648 in a series of exciting new displays that increase visitors’ understanding and enjoyment.
- Incorporate the latest archaeological discoveries into the displays
- Improve collections care for objects on display
- Build in flexibility allowing future changes to the main displays in the light of new discoveries
- Improve the interpretation of Colchester Castle so that it will be far better understood and appreciated by visitors.
- Use the Castle displays as a starting point and a link to discovering other heritage sites in Colchester
- Encourage visitors to participate actively in the museum experience and ensure that the displays provoke and engage their interest.
- Provide fully accessible displays, taking into account the needs of all those with permanent and temporary disabilities.
- Encourage repeat visits by local residents.
Colchester Castle will close in January 2013 and re-open for Easter 2014. There will be a special opportunity over Easter 2013 to see the Castle completely cleared of its contents. During the closure period the museum service will continue to run a full programme of learning and events in other venues.
After the redevelopment the Castle will:
- Be a “must see” attraction for visitors to the area.
- Continue to be a place of which local residents are proud.
- Be a building that welcomes people to enter and feel relaxed during their visit.
- Encourage people to explore using all their senses.
- Provide a sense of theatre and a “wow” factor.
- Be a place where people can find inspiration, and have fun.
- Be physically and intellectually accessible to as wide a range of people as possible.
- Give people a sense of the scale, structure and history of the Castle when they are inside.
- Give people an appreciation of the quality and significance of the collections on display.
- Incorporate the comments and reflections of museum visitors on the objects and stories on display.
- Leave visitors in no doubt that Colchester was “the first capital” of Britain.
- Make it clear that our knowledge of the town’s history is always growing with each new archaeological discovery.