The news that a unique discovery of Anglo Saxon gold near Lichfield will stay in the region does not mean an end to the fundraising efforts, Staffordshire County Council has warned.
The Staffordshire Hoard will be kept in the Midlands after money from the National Heritage Memorial Fund saw the fundraising total go past the £3.3million required.
But before the collection can go on display, vital cleaning, conservation work is needed on the items – a job which will cost around £1.7million.
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council explained:
“It is absolutely fantastic that the Hoard will be returning home to the Midlands. It is part of Staffordshire’s culture and heritage and belongs where Staffordshire people can appreciate it. I’m thrilled. Everyone needs to be congratulated on the fund-raising efforts so far, especially the members of the public who have made individual donations.
“But at the moment there has been raised enough money to simply acquire it. We must be equally determined to display and tell the Hoard’s story.”
Part of the plans for the display of the Hoard includes a so-called Mercian Trail exploring Staffordshire’s Anglo Saxon history.
Ben Adams, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Heritage added:
“We are working with Lichfield District and Tamworth District Councils, and with the Birmingham and Potteries Museums to create a Mercian Trail that will make the story of the region, as the epicentre of the ancient Kingdom of Mercia , come alive and be accessible to everyone.
“The trail has enormous cultural, educational and tourism potential that can be developed through the story of the Staffordshire Hoard. I’m urging everyone to stay committed to fundraising.”
As part of the trail, the Hoard’s links to early Christendom, the Lichfield Angel and St Chad ’s Gospels will be seen at Lichfield Cathedral. It will then move to Tamworth Castle where the bloody battles and history of the King’s seat will come to life. The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery holds a renowned collection of Anglo-Saxon pottery and work is also underway to develop a touring exhibition that would start life at the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford and tell the story of the Hoard through the archaeologist’s eye.
Details of Staffordshire Hoard fundraising events can be found at www.artfund.org/hoard.