£1.285m for Staffordshire Hoard

Patrick Steel, 23.03.2010
Hoard saved for nation but may not go on display for two years
The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) today granted £1.285m to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, allowing the museums to jointly purchase the Staffordshire Hoard, worth a total of £3.285m.

But according to Ian Van Arkadie, head of community services at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the hoard, which contains some 1,500 objects, may not go on display for as long as two years, pending research and conservation work overseen by the British Museum in conjunction with the two Midlands museums.

“We need to bear in mind that research and conservation may have to take priority in the short term,” he said. “But we would hope to put a small collection on display to maintain interest.”

Van Arkadie said the hoard would be split between the two museums, then rotated regularly. He added that they were also looking at the possibility of making short term loans to other local museums and that in the future consideration would be given to loans to other UK museums and overseas museums.

The Potteries museum is now looking to raise £500,000 to refurbish its archaeology gallery, where it will display the hoard.

Alongside the NHMF funding, a public appeal raised £900,000, a further £600,000 was donated by trusts and foundations, The Art Fund donated £300,000, and Birmingham City Council and Stoke City Council both contributed £100,000.

The hoard dates from around the 7th century and, in total, is made up 5kg of gold and 1.3kg of silver.

Historian David Starkey said: “The Staffordshire Hoard provides us with vital clues to our ancient past and now we can set about decoding them. I’m delighted that all the other funding bodies and the generous public have helped save these breathtaking treasures for posterity.”

Culture minister Margaret Hodge said: “This is fantastic news. The great thing about the NHMF, and the reason we fought so hard to maintain its funding for next year in a tight economic climate, is that it can move quickly to help save items at very short notice.

”The Staffordshire Hoard is a great example of this. Thanks to this grant, these superb items will be able to stay, and be enjoyed, where they belong: in the Midlands where they were discovered.”

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport awarded the NHMF an extra £5m as a one-off payment this year, which it will be allowed to carry into the next financial year.