A case of changing rooms for Norwich museums

Norwich's impressive costume and textile collection and the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum are to be relocated later this year as part of a major shake-up of the county's museums service.

Some of the costume and textile collection, currently based at the historic Carrow House, off King Street, Norwich, will be moved to the new-look Bridewell Museum with the rest of the collection and study centre being relocated to the Shirehall which currently houses the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum.

The Market Avenue-based military attraction will close its doors in September with much of the collection being displayed at 'the heart of Norwich Castle' in the rotunda area.

The Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum will however retain a presence at the entrance with the study centre also remaining at its current location.

Vanessa Trevelyan, head of Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, said: 'This is something that was discussed as part of the Big Conversation and as part of county council's budget but the saving will come from leaving Carrow House.

'We will be reducing the number of buildings we occupy which is a cunning way of making efficiencies without reducing the services we're offering or making people redundant and that's something we're rather pleased about.'

The Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum and Carrow House will close to the public on September 11 at the end of the Heritage Open Days weekend.

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Mrs Trevelyan said: 'The current regimental displays are going to close but we will have new displays on the rotunda balcony at the castle. Now the 175,000 people who visited the castle last year will be able to see the Royal Norfolk Regimental collection and I think that's a really big improvement.'

A taster regimental museum display will be in the rotunda by November this year with the full display expected to be completed by late 2012.

Mrs Trevelyan said: 'The costume and textile collection will be much more accessible because at Carrow House we didn't have full level access to the collection and also because of staff shortages and the difficulty of opening the building we were only able to have public access two days a week.

'But the Shirehall is already staffed and has a study centre so we will be open five days a week. It's a really big improvement.'

The historic Bridewell Museum, which is undergoing a �1.5m facelift just a few years after its future was under threat, will open in 2012 with some of the costume and textile collection housed inside.