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Published January 22nd 2021
From the King's chair to giant snakes and ladders
A new interactive Anglo-Saxon gallery is getting ready to welcome visitors to historic Tamworth Castle in Staffordshire. Building work has finished on the £768,000 'Battle and Tribute' exhibition which has transformed the top floor of the medieval castle. The state-of-the-art interactive exhibition, which is dedicated to the area's rich Anglo-Saxon history, includes the creation of a mead hall, an immersive combat film experience, and a unique touch-table strategy game. Once the national lockdown has ended, the exhibition will also host pieces of the legendary Staffordshire Hoard alongside other Anglo-Saxon artefacts for the public to enjoy. Tamworth's strong Anglo-Saxon history includes the role of warrior queen Aethelflaed, the daughter of King Alfred the Great.
The top floor of Tamworth Castle has been completely altered and improved to make way for the exhibition, including a new ceiling and lighting, as well as conservation repairs to walls and windows. The 'Battle and Tribute' display has been made possible thanks to £499,900 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with the remainder of the cost being provided by Tamworth Borough Council, the Ready to Borrow Scheme supported by the Arts Council England and Friends of Tamworth Castle. Councillor Jeremy Oates, Tamworth Borough Council's Cabinet member for Heritage and Growth, said: "It's been a challenging few months with the recent restrictions on working and lockdown constraints. However, we are happy to announce we are at the final stages of completion of the state-of-the-art Battle and Tribute gallery. This is a really impressive change to celebrate our history, unlike anything we've had at the castle before."
Among the exhibition's attractions is a large snakes and ladders interactive activity for families to play. Visitors will climb a ladder or slide down a snake depending on whether they win or lose in battle, or even be granted marriage to a Saxon princess! Added Coun Oates: "We often hear that local people haven't visited the castle for many years. This new exhibition is really worth coming to see, and we look forward to opening this exciting exhibition to visitors safely when Covid-19 restrictions allow."
The Staffordshire Hoard is owned by Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent City Councils, and managed on their behalf by Birmingham Museums Trust and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.