We decided to visit the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition yesterday morning. I had an early appointment in the city centre so, after a warm cup of coffee we wandered down towards the museum to see how long the queue was.
On the way down Piccadilly and past the Regent Theatre we came across these lovely posters decorating some empty shop windows.
The queue was as far back as the end of the Museum building so we joined it at about 9.55a.m. It was a very cold morning and I was glad I'd put on an extra pair of socks and wound a huge scarf around my neck to keep out the cold.
The Museum opened its doors at 10 o'clock and the queue moved forward slowly but surely. It wasn't long before we were inside the building. Everything was very well organised with people snaking around the foyer and around the back of the shop. There were plenty of museum volunteers on duty to help and advise.
Just into the foyer you receive your first hand stamp of the visit (you have to collect three on your way round) we moved up the stairs and into part of the pottery and ceramics gallery. Here we had our second hand stamp. It was getting quite warm now and I began to regret my heavy coat and scarf - if you are going to visit you will wait inside for longer than you do outside which is good in this weather but you may not want to be encumbered by heavy clothing once inside as it is very warm. There are seats dotted around for the full length of the queue so you can sit for a while if standing becomes too much. We continued to snake around the doll and costume collection and then suddenly we received our last stamp and were allowed to move forward into the art gallery where the exhibition had been displayed.
The pieces themselves are stunning but so tiny and delicate much smaller than you would imagine from all the wonderful photographs on the posters and hoardings. To give you some idea of scale the horse to the right of the first photo at the top is no more than an inch high and the chequered boss as small as a shirt button; the workmanship in such small pieces is exquisite - the only thing I can think to say is that it would be like looking at an exhibition of portrait miniatures instead of normal size paintings.
I'm so glad I went to see the exhibition - it was such a thrill to see it; all the visitors were happy and patient and the staff thoroughly enjoyed chatting to them and making them welcome. In all the visit took about two hours. After making a donation and buying a souvenir booklet we made our way downstairs to the cafe for another coffee, stopping to look at another temporary exhibition on the way. This exhibition was about the history of the - Bethesda Chapel - which stands opposite the museum and reached the final, although it didn't win, of the first BBC 'Restoration' programme in 2003.