Frome Hoard finds new home at the centre of new Somerset Museum

By Culture24 Reporter | 30 September 2011
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a photograph of a coin hoard
The Frome Hoard was discovered by a local metal detectorist© Somerset Museum
The Frome Hoard has this week gone on display for the first time since being saved for the nation following a national fundraising appeal.

It forms the star exhibit at the brand new Museum of Somerset in Taunton, which opened its doors to the public on September following a £6.93 million transformation.

The second largest collection of Roman coins ever discovered in Britain, the hoard is the centrepiece of a collection of nationally-important exhibits which includes the Low Ham Roman Mosaic – the earliest large-scale example of narrative art ever found in England.
Visitors can also see the Shapwick Hoard of more than 9,238 silver coins - the largest hoard of Roman silver coins ever found in Britain and the Bronze Age South Cadbury Shield - an extraordinary survival from more than 3,000 years ago.

The Museum is also home to the largest collection of English cauldrons and skillets on public display, including the earliest-known English bronze cauldron dating from the 14th century, as well as the 10th century Wheel Cross from the world-famous Glastonbury Tor.

a photo of a coin display
The Frome Hoard is contextualised at the museum© Somerset Museum
Partly housed in Taunton Castle, which dates back to the 12th century, the museum tells the story of the county from its foundations 400 million years ago up to the present day.

"The museum is a fantastic tribute to Somerset,” said Mick Aston from Channel 4's Time Team as he helped open the museum to the public on Thursday September 29.

“It is full of treasures. I don't mean the silver and gold kind. I mean the type of treasures that illustrate real people's lives and the fascinating stories that lie behind them."

The last pitched battle to take place on English soil is explored in the Monmouth Rebellion Gallery, which reveals the events of the nearby Battle of Sedgemoor.

Housed in the actual space where rebels awaited trial in 1685, it includes a portrait of Hanging Judge Jeffreys by Sir Godfrey Kneller. Jeffreys became notorious for sending around 300 of the rebels to the gallows.

As well as human stories the museum boasts one or two animal tales including that of the Plesiosaur. The first complete Plesiosaur skeleton to be found in Britain for more than a century (by a Somerset fisherman in 2003) is also displayed.

A new Learning Centre and a large multi-purpose gallery capable of staging major touring exhibitions is also part of the development, which includes a new café serving Somerset produce and home-made food and drink.

Somerset County Council has invested £1.8 million in the project, with more than £5 million funded by external organisations, which includes a £4.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Other major donors include Viridor Environmental Credits, The Garfield Weston Foundation, Somerset Military Museum Trust and Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, who are the owners of Taunton Castle.
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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