The newly extended Mildenhall Museum
 
In March 2012 we focused on a BBC News, Suffolk, report announcing that the Mildenhall Museum was, “…set to double in size to help display the remains of an Anglo-Saxon warrior and his horse.” Last Wednesday, two of our trustees went along to the Museum to see the result –
 
It was the first day the Museum was open to the general public. The new automatic door (providing easy disabled access) swung open and we were greeted by three volunteers eager to show us the newly renovated interior, a renovation made possible by grants from Forest Heath District Council, Suffolk County Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Mildenhall Parish Council. The spacious reception area (with small shop) leads in one direction to the new community and education room, while the other direction leads to the first, ground floor gallery displaying fossils and flints from Mildenhall and the surrounding area. Passing the lift (again providing easy disabled access) and the stairs there is a replica Victorian Wash Day and Kitchen gallery showing all manner of household objects from the period.
 
 
The New Community and Education Room
 
The first gallery, on the first floor, contains Romano-British displays of objects from the period, as well as replicas of the stunning Mildenhall Treasure found near West Row in the 1940s (see our earlier The Mildenhall Treasure by Roald Dahl feature here). The replicas are of superb quality and the fact that they can be viewed in such a quiet and unhurried atmosphere is a real pleasure. The original Mildenhall finds are now in the British Museum.
 
 
The Romano-British Gallery with replicas of the Mildenhall Treasure on the right
 
What we had really come to see however was the new gallery dedicated to the remains of a 5th century Anglo-Saxon warrior which was discovered at RAF Lakenheath in 1997. The warrior was found with his sword, shield boss and spear (along with his horse which had been sacrificed at the time of the warrior’s burial) and the partial remains of a sheep by the warrior’s left knee. A bucket was found near the horse’s head and is thought to have contained feed for the animal, while the sheep may have been an offering of food for the warrior in the afterlife. We were not disappointed with the new gallery; not only are the remains beautifully exhibited, but so too are objects found in the grave, the excellent explanation panels on the walls, other items from the Anglo-Saxon period and a video detailing the warrior find and its excavation.

 
The Anglo-Saxon Warrior Gallery
 
 
Close-up of the warrior, his horse and armour, and the skeleton of a sheep 
 
The Mildenhall Museum has been tastefully and professionally refurbished throughout, and although for us pride of place went to the Prehistoric, Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon galleries, there is so much more to see and enjoy there. Admission to the Museum is free (although donations are welcome) and parking at one of the nearby super stores is possible. For Museum opening times, and further information, please go to their website here.