Ipswich Museum's prehistoric mammoth Wool-I-Am to get a £100,000 new home

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A prehistoric woolly mammoth nicknamed Wool-I-Am is to get a new home as part of a multi-million pound museum redevelopment plan.

A grant of £110,000 has been given to Ipswich Museum by the Wolfson Foundation to provide a new setting for the giant beast.

The huge mammoth is a recreation of bones found in the Stoke Hill rail tunnel near Ipswich station, which was excavated in 1845 when the train line to London was being built. Bones of a prehistoric rhino and lion were also discovered.

The new gallery will present Wool-I-Am in his prehistoric world along with information about the archaeological digs at Stoke Tunnel and some of the many items discovered locally from the period, including tusks, teeth and bones.

Stoke Tunnel will be recreated as a crawl space for children where they can make their own archaeological discoveries of mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses through a range of sensory and tactile exhibits.

The £8.7m project will see some of Ipswich Museum's Victorian features restored or reinstated Credit: Ipswich Museum

Ipswich Museum has been on the town's High Street since 1881 and has started an £8.7m project to revitalise its exhibition spaces.

Funding is coming from various sources including £4.3m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and £3.6m from Ipswich Borough Council.

The Ipswich Borough councillor in charge of museums, Carole Jones, said the museum was delighted by the support from the Wolfson Foundation, which has provided £1bn to 12,000 projects since it was established in 1955.

"As well as providing an impressive backdrop for Wool-I-Am, this new gallery will look in detail at the human story and the long-term impact early modern humans had on other species, our environments and the planet," said Ms Jones.

She added: "We are really looking forward to working with the people of Ipswich and our funding partners to inspire a new generation through the new stories we tell within Ipswich Museum.”

The overall project will redesign every gallery in the Victorian building which the museum said would create "a place that fills modern-day visitors with a feeling of wonder, excitement and discovery - the same feeling that the first visitors to Ipswich Museum would have experienced".

There is also £40,000 from Friends of the Ipswich Museums plus £340,000 which will come from fund raising with trusts and other charitable foundations along with £300,000 of various other including volunteer time.