The battle to save the Staffordshire Hoard

The Art Fund in collaboration with multiple local governments and museums have launched a campaign to raise the £3.3 million (ca. $5.4 million) to keep the Staffordshire Hoard intact in local museums. The problem is they have only 13 weeks to raise this princely sum, so they’re basically at DEFCON 1.

Unless they raise £3.3 million by April 17th, the hoard be sold to the highest bidder. There will certainly be an export ban so it’s not likely to leave the country, but it could easily be split up and scattered amongst private collections and museums all over the UK.

Celebrities like former Python Michael Palin have joined with historians like Dr. David Starkey to support The Art Fund’s campaign.

Dr Starkey said [the Staffordshire Hoard] transformed the history of the Midlands from being an Anglo-Saxon “obscure Brummie slum” into the “centre of England”.

He added: “It’s only six months since these things were found. They’ve barely been conserved. All the study, all the work has got to start right here.”

Dr Starkey, who is also a television and radio presenter, said breaking up the collection or moving it would “lose its meaning”.

He added: “It must stay here, together and intact, to be studied and displayed here in the West Midlands, the foundation of whose history it will now become.”

If the campaign is successful, the hoard will be jointly owned by both the Birmingham Museum and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. The city councils of Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent and The Art Fund have started the ball rolling by donating £500,000.

To pitch in yourself, click here to donate. Share the link on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, whatever you’ve got. These are lean times, so the more people hear about the fund-raising drive, the better the chances of its succeeding.

They have handy dandy icons and banners ready for people to use, as well as easy email links and links to their Facebook/Twitter pages. Spread the word!

P.S. – I customized the icon on my page (see left) by slowing it down a little, taking out a frame and adding a border so it matches my blog style. I’ll be glad to offer my rudimentary services to anyone who would like to tweak the button before displaying it on their site.

The battle to save the Staffordshire Hoard