The archaeology collections of national and local museums across Wales are to benefit from a new scheme that will see them working with members of the public who have stumbled upon archaeological finds.
As part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures initiative, which supports museums, libraries and archives in developing their collections through strategic acquisition projects, the ‘Saving Treasures, Telling Stories’ project will create a long-term collecting culture to underpin responsible discovery and reporting.
Every year, metal detectorists, farmers and walkers discover archaeological finds that could have important stories to tell, and this new project will help to establish collecting networks across Wales, enabling museums to share skills, expertise and knowledge as well as offering training to interpret collections. It will also allow for targeted purchases of newly discovered artefacts to develop national and local collections over a four year period (2015-2019). This will involve discoveries covering many periods, from the Stone Age to Medieval times.
The project has received £349,000 of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and will see Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales working in partnership with The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales to fulfil the exciting potential of new discoveries.
The project will deliver a three-year programme of community projects, taking inspiration from significant artefacts or treasure discoveries. Museum staff and partners will collaborate with community groups and participating audiences to develop their responses to the portable heritage on their doorsteps. Community project outcomes will be co-presented in local museums and the national museum, with a range of digital media presentations created and captured online.
A new website will also be developed for the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales, as a point of access for profiling discoveries, stories, successes and creative responses relating to the portable heritage of Wales.
Peter Wakelin, Director of Collections and Research, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, said, “Each year hundreds of objects of archaeological significance are found by metal detectorists in Wales and there are some 20-30 discoveries of treasure. This is a crucial resource for understanding the past. Targeted purchases of newly-discovered artefacts for national and local collections, collecting activities, ongoing resources and community projects will make a lasting change in bringing together detector clubs, local museums and communities around the stories new discoveries reveal.”
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