Silverdale Hoard attracts record numbers to Lancaster City Museum

Viking rings from the Silverdale Hoard collection
Viking rings from the Silverdale Hoard collection

Record numbers of visitors have flocked to Lancaster City Museum to see one of the largest collections of Viking silver ever found in Britain.

More than 5,000 people of all ages went to see the Silverdale Hoard exhibition when it opened during the school half-term.

And the museum is still welcoming around 300 visitors a day. The figures are nearly 300 per cent up on the same period last year.

Valued at nearly £110,000, the Silverdale Hoard is made up of more than 200 items dating from around 900 AD.

The pieces include beautifully crafted jewellery, coins and 141 silver fragments and ingots.

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 lay for more than 1,000 years before being discovered by a local metal detectorist in September 2011.

County Coun Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “The public response to this superb exhibition shows the genuine interest and enthusiasm that our local history can inspire.

“And, of course, the boost to visitor numbers can only be good news for the local economy, with more people being drawn in to the city centre.”

Coun Ron Sands, Lancaster City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, culture and tourism, added: “It is inspiring to see so many people taking pride in their local heritage and culture by seizing the opportunity to view this fabulous collection.

“I would like to applaud the museum service for the excellent job they have done in creating such a marvellous exhibition.”

The exhibition, called ‘The Silverdale Hoard – the story so far’, runs until December 21.

It showcases the collection in the condition in which it was discovered.

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 February 15 to December 7, 2014 before further research and conservation work takes place.

Lancaster City Museum is managed by Lancashire County Council on behalf of the city council.

It is open between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday. Admission is free.