Thank you to the museums Assistant Curator, Sara, for sharing this post with us!

The staff at Ely Museum have recently had the slightly weird experience of walking past our museum every day and not being able to go inside. We’re working from a temporary office in the Sessions House, kindly provided by City of Ely Council while R. G. Carter transform our building for our new museum.

As you can imagine, we’ve been desperately wanting to see how it’s going and last week we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak of how the work is going inside.

Museum Trustee Pat & Phil, Emily & Sara dressed the part and headed inside for our first sneak peek at the building

The first bit of the work was the strip-out, where they removed anything that had been left inside like carpets, noticeboards, skirting boards and radiators. After that, they began the demolitions – taking out a lot of the recent partition walls and opening up the gallery spaces. We’re really excited that visitors will be able to see more of the historic features of the building when we reopen – fireplaces, doorways and even a spiral staircase.

Seeing downstairs as one large room enabled us to really envisage the new galleries!
Upstairs seems so much larger now we’ve taken down the walls!

Our existing staircase has also been demolished, because there will be two new staircases by the time we reopen. At the moment, however, the only way to get to the upper floor is via the tiny historic staircase. Our staff really enjoyed having the chance to use these stairs as they’ve been closed up the whole time we’ve worked here and we’ve only been able to see them by peeking in the back of a cupboard.

Previously we used this stairwell to store ladders & have never been able to walk all the way up them, so this was exciting for the staff!

We’re delighted to be able to share a few photos of what the inside of the building currently looks like – you might find it difficult to even picture which space is which because it looks so different at the moment!

The education office is gone!
The education office has been cut out & windows, that had been behind walls for over 20 years, were exposed again!
Historic features have been revealed including this original Tudor fireplace
The builders & architects are really impressed by our roof – the person who built it did an excellent job! We know it cost over £500 in the mid 19th century so it was as expensive repair to the Old Gaol then!