The Thetford Treasure is in Thetford – on loan

Should Thetford join the Greeks in demanding the permanent return of their heritage? We have all (probably) seen the Thetford Treasure at the BM. Would it make sense to have to make a pilgrimage to East Anglia to see it? Part of me says “Yes. I always suffer from treasure overload when I visit the BM. Why shouldn’t Thetford be a place of pilgrimage for seeing the wonderful gold and silver found there?” I used to teach in Bruton in Somerset, and a find sword was found there, I think in the river Brue. The BM snaffled it, and gave the local museum a replica. But is that right? Both the Thetford Treasure and the Bruton Sword would get much more attention if they were the star attractions in a local museum, rather than just something else among the vast riches of the BM. What do you think?

Anyway, this is from Watton and Swaffham Times

05 November 2008

VISITOR numbers at a Thetford
museum have been boosted by more than 40pc – thanks a collection of
precious Roman gold jewellery and silver spoons.

Officials at
Ancient House spoke of their delight last week after the Tudor town
house received more than 1,400 extra guests compared to the same
five-month period last year.

Curator Oliver Bone said the 44pc
increase in visitors was mainly down to the Thetford Treasure, which
has been on loan from the British Museum since May.

The
priceless collection of gold bracelets, necklaces, pendants, rings and
silver spoons and strainers, which date back to between 380 and 390AD,
were discovered in the town nearly 30 years ago and are set to be on
display at the museum in White Hart Street until December 12.

Mr
Bone said that more people would get a chance to see the Thetford
Treasure from Monday when Ancient House is open for free admission
during the winter months.

Figures show that 4,560 people visited
the museum between May and September compared to the 3,151 during the
same period last year.

“Senior management at the museums service
are really pleased with the performance of Ancient House and it is
great to see extra visitors making use of the facility. The response to
the Thetford Treasure has been very good,” said Mr Bone.

The
museum’s changing displays space is set to be transformed in the New
Year into an exhibition remembering Thetford’s 1950s and 1960s London
overspill scheme, before being turned into a display on Thomas Paine in
June next year to coincide with a series of public events to mark the
bicentenary of the famous author’s death.

Ancient House is also staging “Knit and Knatter” workshops over the coming months to help knit 200 mittens as part of the Tom Paine celebrations.

Thetford’s most famous son donated the proceeds of his 1776 pamphlet Common Sense to buy mittens for soldiers.

Contact the museum on 01842 752599.

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