Revamped Food Museum building gives Suffolk new attraction

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A stunning new exhibition and events space has been opened at the Food Museum in Stowmarket with support from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growing Places Fund.

The William Bone building was opened in 2001, a complete museum dedicated to telling the 210-year history of Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries Engineering Company – a major player in the agricultural engineering market.

Now along with other facilities at the museum it has had a refit and is equipped to host art exhibitions, as well as being kitted out with a new demonstration kitchen.

New Anglia LEP supported the refurbishment and, along with Arts Council England, has contributed to Hedgerow, a collection of paintings, poetry, photography, printmaking and film that will be on display until June 2023.

Jenny Cousins, Director at the Food Museum, said: “We’re thrilled we’ve been able to undertake the work to the William Bone Building to create a new attraction for visitors, driving footfall to Stowmarket. The LEP’s support was critical in getting our project off the ground and supporting our transition to a new business model as the Food Museum.”

Iain Dunnett, the LEP’s Growing Places Fund Coordinator at the LEP, added: “We are pleased to have provided support from the Growing Places Fund, alongside support from the Arts Council, towards the refurbishment of the William Bone Building.

“The refurbished building has now opened to the public with a beautiful exhibition entitled Hedgerow, the first in a programme of annual exhibitions to be held in this new exhibition and events space.”

The Food Museum began as a volunteer-run rural life museum in 1967 and became The Food Museum in 2022.

It is a large 75-acre estate with 17 historic buildings, animals, gardens, river walk and a collection of over 40,000 objects. Through exhibitions, activities, events and programmes, the museum seeks to engage visitors with where their food comes from and the communities that grow and make it.

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