The Staffordshire Hoard on tour

Friday January 14 2011

Glittering items from the world’s largest find of Anglo Saxon gold are set to tour Staffordshire this summer.

Exciting plans that will see a touring exhibition of star items from the Staffordshire Hoard visit venues across Staffordshire this summer are in the final stages of preparation. The exhibition, which is set to visit Stafford’s Shire Hall, Lichfield Cathedral and Tamworth Castle between July and September, will be a fitting way to thank the thousands of local people who donated money to help save the Staffordshire Hoard for the nation.

Speaking on behalf of the Staffordshire Hoard Partnership, Councillor Hazel Lyth, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture, explains:“The temporary exhibition will take visitors on a voyage of Anglo Saxon discovery - from unearthing the story of the hoard from the archaeologist’s eye in Stafford, through to exploring the hoard's links to early Christendom, the Lichfield Angel and the priceless St Chad Gospels at Lichfield Cathedral. In Tamworth, visitors will uncover more about the ancient seat of Mercia, the kingdom’s bloody battles, and colourful cast of characters.

Councillor Lyth continued:“Often with finds of this importance it takes years before they go on public display, so it’s just wonderful that we are able to tour pieces from the hoard around the region, so soon after it was discovered. The tour will be a fantastic way to say thank you to the thousands of local people who gave so generously to help Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museumand Art Gallery in Stoke on Trent, acquire this exquisite treasure for the nation.”

The exhibition will open at Stafford’s Shire Hall on 2 July and close on 24 July. It will then visit Lichfield Cathedral, from 30 July to 21 August. Its final stop will be Tamworth Castle, opening on 27 August and closing on 18 September. Entry will be free, and visitor donations will help to continue the work to conserve, research and display the Staffordshire Hoard.

The displays are set to feature more than forty star items from the Staffordshire Hoard, including the pectoral cross, the biblical inscription and the seahorse.

To help bring the exhibition to life, teams at Stafford, Lichfield and Tamworth are working alongside colleagues at Birminghamand Stoke, including skilled conservators, researchers and museum experts. They are fine-tuning the meticulous security arrangements, developing 3D models, and creating displays that will explain the new exciting discoveries that are being uncovered, as part of the work to conserve and research the hoard. The teams are also working to raise the vital funds that will help to stage this six-week Staffordshire tour.

The Revd Dr Pete Wilcox, Canon Chancellor of Lichfield Cathedral, said:“We’re delighted to be working alongside our colleagues at Birminghamand Stoke to help bring the temporary touring exhibition to life. In Lichfield, visitors will get the chance to learn more about the links between the hoard and the cathedral’s existing priceless treasures, including the St Chad Gospels and the Lichfield Angel. The exhibition will also describe more about the politics of the time and the region’s transition from Paganism to Christianity.”      

Councillor Ben Adams, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities & Culture, said:“We want to make it easy for as many people as possible to come along and see the hoard, which represents one of the most exciting moments of our county and region’s history.  Residents across Staffordshire were such enthusiastic supporters of the fundraising campaign to save the hoard, and the touring exhibition is a perfect way to say thank you to everyone who gave so generously. It is also a great way to give people a taste of the more permanent Mercian Trail that we hope to create across Staffordshire, Lichfield, Tamworth, Stoke and Birmingham.”
 
Councillor Steve Claymore, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said:“It is amazing how much support the public has shown over the past 12 months since the discovery of the hoard, just a few miles outside our historic town. As the ancient capital of Mercia, I am delighted Tamworthwill be included in the touring exhibition. The displays in the castle will allow people living in and around Tamworthto see the hoard, one of the most exciting finds in recent history. It will also mean lots of people will get to find out more about Tamworth’s exciting Anglo Saxon history, and our town’s historic links to the story of the hoard.”
 
Councillor Louise Flowith, Cabinet Member for Tourism at Lichfield District Council, added: “Without the generous donations from local people, that saw more than £900,000 raised through public donations, we might not have the chance to display the hoard across the region, so close to its original resting place in Lichfield District. Thanks to the funds raised, expert teams are now working to conserve, research and uncover the wealth of, as yet unknown, stories behind the hoard. A further £1.7 million needed to fully research and conserve the treasures, and more will be needed to display the hoard across the region. To pledge your support to the ongoing fundraising campaign, please visit www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk.”
 
For updates on the plans for the temporary touring exhibition visit www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk