Friday, 25 October 2013

Silverdale Hoard exhibition opens at Lancaster City Museum

Part of the Silverdale Hoard

A major collection of Viking silver that was buried for over 1,000 years goes on display at Lancaster City Museum from today.

The exhibition, called 'The Silverdale Hoard – The Story so Far', runs from Friday 25th October until Saturday 21st December. The exhibition showcases the remarkable hoard in the condition in which it was discovered and is accompanied by a full programme of family-friendly events starting on Saturday 26th October, detailed below.

Known as the Silverdale Hoard, the collection is made up of more than 200 items believed to date from around 900 AD. The pieces include beautifully crafted jewellery together with coins from several Viking kingdoms of Britain, from Europe and even Arabia.

Also included are 141 fragments of arm-rings and ingots which had been chopped into smaller pieces. These are known as hacksilver, which the Vikings used as money.

The hoard had been buried in a lead pouch under a field in Silverdale, where it was discovered by a local metal detectorist in September 2011. The following December it was declared Treasure in line with the Treasure Act 1996. It was later valued at nearly £110,000.

Following the valuation, staff from Lancashire County Council's museum service, supported by colleagues at Lancaster City Council, made successful bids for funds from national arts and heritage organisations to buy the hoard and make sure it stays in the county.

The hoard has been acquired by Lancashire County Council's museums service thanks to a grant of £45,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, which aims to save the most significant and outstanding parts of our heritage for the nation, along with £33,000 from the Art Fund and £18,000 from the Victoria and Albert Purchase Grant Fund.

County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: "This superb exhibition in Lancaster will be the first chance for everyone to see one of the largest collections of Viking silver ever found in Britain.

"I should like to thank our museum staff, together with our colleagues at the city council, for their hard work and their commitment to keeping this historically important collection here in Lancashire.

"We are especially grateful to the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and the Victoria and Albert Purchase Grant Fund without whose generous support, none of this would have been possible. Our exhibition has also received support from the Art Fund and The Headley Trust."

Councillor Ron Sands, Lancaster City Council's cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, culture and tourism, added: “The Silverdale Hoard is a unique reminder of our rich heritage. It gives us a fascinating glimpse into the history of the district.

“I’m delighted that this exhibition is taking place at Lancaster City Museum. I would urge everyone to take up this fabulous opportunity to visit this wonderful local find while it is available to vie! w right here on our doorstep."

Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of NHMF, said: “This is wonderful news for Lancashire and the nation. The Silverdale Hoard offers a unique window into the lives and craftsmanship of the Vikings who inhabited Lancashire over 1,000 years ago. The National Heritage Memorial Fund exists to make sure historic gems such as this are not lost from this country and so our trustees felt it was vital it should be saved for future generations to learn from and enjoy.”

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “As one of the largest Viking hoards to be discovered in Britain, this collection comprising! 200 items of silver coins, jewellery and ingots is not only important for Lancashire, but for the nation as a whole.

"Now part of the museum's collection, we are pleased to have supported the acquisition and an imaginative engagement programme that will enable the local community as well as the region’s many visitors to celebrate and learn about Viking culture in the north west.”

Julia Brettell, V&A National and Grants Officer, said: "The V&A Purchase Grant Fund is pleased to support the acquisition of the Silverdale Hoard, as it will enable Lancashire County Council's museum service to tell the story of the people of north Lancashire and Cumbria during the pivotal Viking period."

After previewing in Lancaster, the hoard will move to its permanent home at the Museum of Lancashire in Preston. It will then be on show from 15th February 7th December 2014, before further research and conservation work takes place.

• Lancaster City Museum is managed by Lancashire County Council on behalf of the city council. Opening times are 10.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Saturday. Admission is free. For more information about events and activities visit or phone the museum on 01524 64637

Tie In Events

The Vikings come alive
Saturday 26 October
11-12.30pm, 1-2.30pm and 3-4pm
To mark the opening of the exhibition our Viking re-enactors will be on hand to give you a taste of what life was like. They will be reproducing coins similar to those in the Hoard, doing some tapestry work and talking about the food the Vikings ate. There will be the chance for you to get involved too with hands on activities, including braiding.
Admission Free. Drop in

Viking Early Years session
Friday 15th November
Join us for this pre school activity aimed at 3-5 year olds. Our Viking will be telling you the story of Hiccup, and with activities and singing too this will be one not to miss.
Admission Free. Drop In

Sven's the name… invasion's the game
Saturday 16th November
11-12.30pm, 1-2.30pm and 3-4pm
Meet Sven our Viking warrior as he takes you on a hands on journey exploring Viking weapons and battle tactics. Handle Viking weaponry and if the gods favour you, maybe you can stand in the famous Viking shield wall.
Admission Free. Drop In

Warriors of the Sea
Saturday 23rd November
11-12.30pm, 1-2.30pm and 3-4pm
 Join Sven our Viking warrior as he guides you through a hands on experience exploring Viking navigation, exploration and longboats. Learn to use a sun compass and make a Viking Longboat.
Admission Free. Drop In

Olaf: The Teller of Tales
Saturday 30th November
11-12.30pm, 1-2.30pm and 3-4pm
Come and join Olaf the saga teller in this hands on and immersive session. Learn all about Viking life, handle Viking artefacts and then sit and listen to Olaf as he tells the tales of his people.
Admission Free. Drop in

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