A Signature donation for the Staffordshire Hoard

Birmingham billboard poster owner, Signature Outdoor, has offered up to £195,000 worth of advertising to support the campaign to bring the Anglo Saxon Hoard back to the West Midlands.

The first of three campaigns promised begins today, 2 February 2010, and will last for two weeks on high profile sites at the M6, New Street Station and Birmingham Centre.

The size of the billboards sponsored are, New Street 1.5 metres high x 5 metres wide, and M6 Junction 9 facing east and west, Paradise Circus, and Millennium Point at 7.5 metres high and 65 metres wide.     

The two-week campaign is worth as much as £65,000 and Signature Outdoor has also offered to repeat the campaign at the end of March and end of April, bringing the total support from Signature Outdoor to around £195,000. 

Councillor Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure Sport and Culture, said: “This is yet another example of the Midlands pulling together to bring the Hoard back to the region and I’m absolutely delighted that Signature Outdoor has been so generous in backing our campaign.

“We’ve had national support from leading politicians, academics and celebrities, which has been amazing. But the support closer to home is equally important. This treasure will hugely benefit the region and organisations and individuals across the Midlands clearly appreciate that.”

Following the recent launch of the public appeal by the ArtFund and fronted by David Starkey, Birmingham and Stoke museums are aiming to raise £3.3 million to secure the Hoard for the region. Already £560,000 has been raised with a £100,000 each from Birmingham and Stoke City Councils, £300,000 pledged by the ArtFund and £60,000 so far raised by the public.   

Steve George, Signature Outdoor Media said: “Signature is a Birmingham based company and we want to play our part in securing the hoard for the West Midlands Region.     It will be of huge benefit to us all and is an important part of our local heritage. 

“We have donated the sites on the M6, the Centre of Birmingham including New Street Station that will be carrying the message “Save the Hoard” giving the appeal the level of exposure that many top brands would get from such a campaign.  Over a million vehicles will see the M6 sites alone. 

“We approached Birmingham City Council with an offer barely a week ago and the whole campaign from artwork through to the site being erected has been put together in a short period of time demonstrating a real will to keep the Hoard in the region.”

Over the next 13 weeks events and activities will be taking place throughout the West Midlands to raise funds to keep the Staffordshire Hoard in the region. More than 80 of the most significant artefacts from the Hoard, including items never seen before, will be on display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent between 13 February and 7 March.

All donations should be given via the official campaign website www.artfund.org/hoard
Or by telephone on 0844 415 4004; Cheques can be sent to
The Art Fund, Freepost LON 17186, PO BOX 2003, Kirkcaldy, KY2 6BR

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Media Contact  Thomas Jeavons 0121 303 3392
Thomas.jeavons@birmingham.gov.uk
Notes to editors:

The Campaign
The Art Fund is leading the campaign to jointly acquire the treasure for Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. We are working in partnership with the councils of Birmingham, Lichfield, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Tamworth as well as Advantage West Midlands, Staffordshire University, British Museum, Museums Libraries and Archives Council and the Government Office for the West Midlands. If successful, the hoard will go on show in Birmingham as one of the proposed highlights of the UK City of Culture Bid Programme of events in 2013. A series of other displays will also be planned across the region, as part of a Mercian Trail that will explore the history of the Hoard. The exhibition at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery between 13 February and 7 March will be one of the first events to mark centenary celebrations in 2010 of the federation of Stoke-on-Trent’s six towns.

The Staffordshire Hoard
The treasure was discovered in a field in the West Midlands in July last year by metal detectorist Terry Herbert The find was reported to Duncan Slarke, Finds Liaison Officer of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), who contacted Roger Bland, Head of the PAS and Kevin Leahy, National Finds Adviser. Birmingham Archaeology carried out the excavation, funded by English Heritage, and this was completed within a month. The Hoard was sent to the Coroner of South Staffordshire and declared treasure on 24 September 2009. On 25 November 2009 the Treasure Valuation Committee reached its valuation of £3.3 million, and the museums interested in acquiring the Hoard were asked to confirm their intentions. The TVC then generated an ‘invoice’ to the museums, giving four months from this date for the money to be raised. This gave the 17 April deadline. The Hoard comprises over 1,500 items made of gold, silver and precious stones, and dates back to the 7th Century. Mostly military in nature, it is by far the largest find of Anglo-Saxon gold ever recorded, with over 5kg of gold and 1.3kg of silver. The craftsmanship and beauty of the pieces indicate possible royal ownership, and promise to transform our understanding of the lives of the Anglo-Saxon people, and the role the region then known as Mercia played in history.

In addition to the £3.3million needed to acquire the Hoard a longer term fundraising strategy is underway to raise a further £1.7million to ensure that it can be properly conserved, studied and displayed. This brings the total long term fundraising target to £5million. Any money raised in addition to the initial £3.3m will go towards that £1.7m needed.

The Art Fund
The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art. It is funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. Other recent achievements include: helping secure Titian’s Diana and Actaeon for the nation in 2009 with a grant of £1million; helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million and funding its nationwide tour with an additional £500,000 over two years; leading the successful £550,000 appeal to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK, and spearheading campaign to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire and its contents were secured intact for the nation in July 2007. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit www.artfund.org.

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