Ipswich Museum

Family looking at a bear on display in the Victorian gallery at Ipswich Museum
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This fascinating and unique museum gives you the opportunity to meet the famous woolly mammoth, the elegant towering giraffe and other wonderful curiosities from the natural world.

Venue Type:

Museum, Archive

Opening hours

Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm
Please check our website for Christmas opening dates.

Admission charges

Admission free

Additional info

Disabled access, baby changing facilities and gift shop.

Includes Natural history, geology, archaeology, local history and ethnography galleries

Collection details

Archaeology, Architecture, Archives, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Industry, Land Transport, Music, Natural Sciences, Science and Technology, Social History, Trade and Commerce, Weapons and War, World Cultures

Key artists and exhibits

  • Ogilvie Bird collection; anglo-saxon archaeology; roman archaeology; Victorian taxidermy; Rowland Ward taxidermy; Sikh heritage; Maharajah Duleep Singh; African heritage; geology; red crag fossils; coralline crag fossils; Norwich crag fossils; coprolite; Egyptian archaeology; Giraffe; Rhinoceros; Gorillas; Du Chaillu; Ice Age fossils; Woolly Mammoth
Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Maori 'god stick', tiki wananga or whakapakoko rakau IPSMG: HSM.2017.162

Whakapakoko rākau: Capturing god

  • 12 May 2018 2:30-4pm

Join us we explore the role of religion and belief in the development of art and civilisations. Through an informal panel discussion multi-faith perspectives on the role of art and religion in the cultural development of civilisations will be explored.

Whakapakoko rākau or god sticks are traditional features of Polynesian cultures, especially the Maori people of New Zealand. Ipswich Museum's example is a stick-like form with human-like head and eyes inlaid with Pāua shell; it is an early example of traditional Maori religious practice. Before use by a tohunga ahurewa, a traditional Maori priest, to communicate with the atua, the deity or god, the shaft would have been carefully bound by cord, most likely using muka, in an intricate crisscross pattern with a collar of red feathers attached around the neck. The feathers would have been then coated in red ochre to attract the atua into the god stick. The god stick would then have been pushed into the ground and used to invoke the presence of atua.

Maori 'god stick', tiki wananga or whakapakoko rakau (IPSMG: HSM.2017.162) is included in the BBC Cvilisations AR App and made possible with Art Fund support.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17
Silent Disco

Silent Disco: Museums at Night

  • 19 May 2018

Move the Mammoth, lock up the Rhino, this is your chance to dance the night away at Ipswich Museum. Don’t like the same music as your friends? No problem! At a flick of a switch you'll be able change who you're listening to. Perfect for everyone, no matter what your age, get down to the beat with a disco like you’ve never experienced before.

There’s fun for all the family between 5.30-7.30pm.

It’s the turn of the teens (14-19yo) at 7-9pm.

As it’s getting late it’s time for the over 18s to take over and get into the groove from 9.30-11pm.

You'll receive a set of headphones upon entry, but not a normal set, these are armed with two channels! We've teamed up with some local talent to make your channel choices as tough as possible:

**refundable £2 deposit per headset will required on the night as well**

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 14-15
  • 18+
  • 11-13
  • 16-17


For families session (5.30-7.30pm): £3.00 (£3.30 with booking fee) in advance, and £3.50 on the night.

For teens session (7-9pm): £3.00 (£3.30 with booking fee) in advance, and £3.50 on the night.

For 18+: £6.00 (£6.60 with booking fee) in advance, and £7.50 on the night.



Dance mask, British Columbia, IPSMG: R.1948-214.9

Conserving cultures in the 21st Century

  • 23 June 2018 10:30am-4pm

Join Ipswich Museum's conservator, Robert Entwistle, has he explores the process and methods used to maintain and care for our north American first nations collection.

Ipswich has a fine, but small, collection of Nortwest Coast tribal collections.

Two masks will feature in the BBC Civilisations AR App:

Dance mask, British Columbia (IPSMG: R.1948-214.9) - the mask of Noohlmahl, a fool dancer, from the Kwakwaka’wakw indigenous peoples. It is believed this mask was made by the Kwakiutl tribe. The mask would have been used in their Winder Dance ceremonies. The Noohlmahl’s role in the ceremonies was to help police and protect them by ensuring traditional and protocol was followed. Any transgressions would result in the Noohlmahl dance or act wildly in protest to and improper conduct.

Portrait Mask, Queen Charlotte Islands (IPSMG: R.1992-90.674) - This mask is a portrait of a woman from the Haida people. She is depicted with a plug in her lower lip. Lip-plugs were worn exclusively by women of the indigenous people of the North West Pacific coast of America and Canada and were a mark of status.

'Conserving cultures in the 21st Century' made possible with Art Fund support.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17
Riji, human hair belt with carved mother of pearl shells, IPSMG: R.1928-205.1

3D scanning and the objects that didn’t make it

  • 14 July 2018 2:30-4pm

Join our Collections and Learning Team as we show you the objects that were selected, but didn’t make it onto the BBC Civilisations app and the reasons for their exclusion.

Objects include:
Riji, human hair belt with carved mother of pearl shells (IPSMG: R.1928-205.1)
Carved mother of pearl pendant (IPSMG: R.1928-205.2)
Dance mask, British Columbia (IPSMG: R.1948-214.8)
Mrs Kilderbee, née Mary Wayth (1723–1811), Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), (IPSMG: R. 1959-130)

'3D scanning and the objects that didn’t make it' made possible with Art Fund support.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17

Ipswich Museum
High Street

logo: Museums at Night




General enquiries



Museum Switchboard

01473 433550


fax number

01473 433558

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.