The Art Fund is delighted to announce that the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest archaeological Anglo-Saxon find ever unearthed, has been saved for the nation. The news comes after the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), the government's fund of last resort for heritage items at risk, pledged £1,285,000, bringing the campaign to the £3.3m target, just over three weeks ahead of schedule.
Thanks to the support of the public, trusts and foundations, and the generous £1,285,000 NHMF grant, the awe-inspiring find has now been safely secured for Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. On 13 January 2010 The Art Fund launched the campaign to save the Staffordshire Hoard on behalf of both acquiring museums with a £300,000 grant and with generous pledges of £100,000 each from Birmingham and Stoke City Councils.
Since the launch of the campaign, over £900,000 has been raised through public donations; £640,000 of that came from Art Fund members and supporters. Over 100,000 people have visited the Staffordshire Hoard displays in Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and the British Museum. Donations from members of the public have ranged from £1 to £100,000, and have come in from as far afield as the USA and Japan. In addition to public support, the campaign has received substantial donations from trusts and foundations.
Stephen Deuchar, Director of The Art Fund, said: "We have been absolutely bowled over by the enthusiasm and fascination the Staffordshire Hoard has sparked amongst the British public, as well as visitors from abroad. It is wonderful news that the NHMF has enabled the target of £3.3m to be reached ahead of the deadline, and I hope that this will give the West Midlands a head-start with the next stage in fundraising for the conservation, research and display of the treasure."
Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of NHMF, said: "We’re delighted to be able to announce this news today. The Staffordshire Hoard is an extraordinary heritage treasure. It is exactly the sort of thing the National Heritage Memorial Fund was set up to save, stepping in as the ‘fund of last resort’ when our national heritage is at risk, as a fitting memorial to those who have given their lives in the service of our nation. We’re delighted, in our 30th anniversary year, to be able to make sure it stays just where it belongs, providing rare insights into one of the more mysterious periods of our history."
Eminent historian and broadcaster Dr David Starkey helped launch the campaign on 13 January, giving an illuminating speech on the value of the Hoard and coining the term "gangland bling" to describe its dazzling beauty and links to bloody warfare.
Today David Starkey commented: "This is wonderful news for historians worldwide – the Staffordshire Hoard provides us with vital clues to our ancient past, and now we can set about decoding them. We’re delighted that The Art Fund, the NHMF, all other funding bodies and the generous public have helped us save these breathtaking treasures for posterity. It’s now vital that we think ahead towards a future conservation of the Hoard, and displays that will match the excitement of the find."
However, The Art Fund emphasised today that there is still more work to be done. A further £1.7m must be found so that the Hoard can be properly conserved, studied and displayed.
All donations received after Wednesday will be directed to the £1.7m campaign for conservation and research. The public can continue to donate to the wider campaign via www.artfund.org/hoard.
Pledges can also be made by telephone on 0844 415 4004. Cheques can be sent to The Art Fund, Freepost LON 17186, PO BOX 2003, Kirkcaldy, KY2 6BR.