Lucky thirteen for Kettering helps bring world class treasures home

Published: Thursday, 17th May 2018

An ambitious bid for funding has succeeded in Kettering Borough Council’s Manor House Museum being amongst 13 museums to be awarded a substantial grant.

The £20,000 will allow precious archaeological objects to be borrowed from the British Museum in London for an exhibition in Kettering starting in the autumn.

The grant money comes from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund. Created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, this fund supports the sharing of art and objects that are held in national collections with wider audiences.

Stars of the exhibition are three world class items which were found in the borough of Kettering. They have not been back since they were discovered and donated to the British Museum in the late 19th and early 20th century. They are:

  • The Desborough necklace - an early Saxon gold necklace
  • The Desborough mirror - Celtic period
  • The Kettering hockey player - a unique Roman pottery mould

The mirror and necklace are usually on permanent display at the British Museum – such is their quality. The exhibition will also include other archaeological finds from the area – looking at objects that are not only familiar to us today but were also used in the past.

Cllr Scott Edwards, Kettering Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Youth, said:

“It’s fantastic news to hear that these treasures are coming back to our Borough for the first time and that local people will have the chance to see them. I heartily congratulate staff and volunteers who have made this happen and I would like to thank the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund for their support.”

Kettering Museum staff had stiff competition to win this award. Philippa Charles, Garfield Weston Foundation director said:

“We have been blown away by the ambition and creativity of museums and galleries across the UK and Kettering’s idea really stood out.

Some of the most talented curators in the UK have imagined the art, objects and exhibitions which promise to transform the experiences of their audiences. We are delighted that the local community in Kettering will get to see these amazing archaeological treasures.”

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director, added:

“We knew the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund addressed a vital need; our national museums want to widen access to the collections they hold, and institutions around the UK want to share these works with their audiences. The response has been overwhelming. We’re pleased to provide the means to enable the greater sharing of art, but, just as importantly, to help empower museums to realise their ambitions.”

‘Local Treasures: The British Museum comes to Kettering’, opens at the Manor House Museum in Kettering on Saturday 22 September 2018 and runs until Saturday 12 January 2019. There is no charge for entry and there will be a programme of free events on offer.

Additional funding for the exhibition has been granted by Museum Development East Midlands and Kettering Borough Council.

Anyone wanting regular updates as the exhibition approaches can visit www.ThisisKettering.com/LocalTreasures where you can sign up to receive the Local Treasures eNewsletter. You can also find out more by calling the Museum on 01536 534 219.