New interactive Anglo-Saxon gallery at Tamworth Castle due to open next month

castle exhibitionNext month will see the re-opening of the town’s iconic castle and the launch of a new state-of-the-art and interactive exhibition, dedicated to the area’s rich Anglo-Saxon history.

All work is now complete in Tamworth Castle for an exciting new ‘Battle and Tribute’ exhibition that has transformed the top floor of the castle to an Anglo-Saxon, interactive tribute.

The £768,000 ‘Battle and Tribute’ exhibition, including the creation of a mead hall, an immersive combat film experience and a unique touch-table strategy game, are now in place, ready for the official re-opening of the castle on Tuesday, May 18.

The exhibition will bring the area’s rich Anglo-Saxon history to life, including the role of our famous warrior queen, Aethelflaed. It will also explore many exciting aspects of the Staffordshire Hoard, including themes of battle, kingship and the warrior culture in Anglo-Saxon Mercia.

The top floor of the ancient castle has been completely altered and improved, including the upgrading of infrastructure, a new ceiling and lighting, as well as conservation repairs to walls and windows. This made way for the final installation of the brand new exhibition.

The interpretation elements of the exhibition were completed during the challenging pandemic by following all Covid-19 restrictions and guideline changes.

The ‘Battle and Tribute’ display has been made possible thanks to £499,900 from National Lottery players through 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.

Further exciting plans will also be revealed at the castle including the creation of a new augmented reality trail and digitalisation of the museum collection, thanks to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund to help protect the future of the nation’s creative and cultural organisations.

The reality trail will run throughout the castle where visitors will be able to download an app and scan markers placed in different locations. Each marker will launch an augmented reality experience – for example, a 3D object or a character - ‘bringing to life’ some historical information and facts about the furniture and objects on display or past occupants of the castle.

Anna Miller, Tamworth Borough Council’s Assistant Director for Growth and Regeneration, said: “It’s been a challenging year for everyone with the pandemic restrictions and working with lockdown constraints. However, we are excited to announce we can finally re-open the castle and launch this state-of-the-art Battle and Tribute gallery, plus the new augmented reality trail.

“The pandemic has magnified the need for Tamworth Castle, as the town’s sole museum and main cultural venue, to modernise the way services are provided to the community, visitors and schools.

“This is a really impressive change to our historic monument and celebrates our history, unlike anything we’ve had at the castle before.

“We are planning an official ribbon cutting inside the castle the day before re-opening with a special guest appearance.

“As part of sharing our historical Tamworth story, the exhibition will really showcase our rich Anglo-Saxon heritage, including the role of our famous warrior queen Aethelflaed and the increased display of a number of items from the Staffordshire Hoard, demonstrating how this incredible treasure trove fits into the wider history of the Kingdom of Mercia.

“We often hear that local people haven’t visited to the castle for many years, this new exhibition is really worth coming to see, we look forward to welcoming visitors safely from May 18.”

Keep an eye out on www.tamworthcastle.co.uk and via the Tamworth Castle’s Facebook and Twitter pages for more news and how to book tickets.

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.