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A journey to Middle-earth comes to Chichester's Novium Museum

A magical treasure trove of objects and artworks celebrating the epic fantasy novels 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings' is coming to Chichester this spring.

Journey into Middle Earth exhibit - Novium Museum March 2023

'The Magic of Middle-earth' exhibition will open at The Novium Museum on Saturday 1 April. This exciting exhibition is dedicated to the incredible fantasy worlds brought to life by J.R.R. Tolkien and the generations of creators his writing has influenced.

Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic. He is best known as the author of 'The Hobbit' (1937) and 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954). Regarded as the 'father' of modern fantasy literature, Tolkien's cultural influence has extended far beyond other authors. Middle-earth has inspired creative minds of all types and acted as a Minecraft-like toolbox for generations of artists, musicians, film makers, environmentalists and game designers — most recently inspiring Amazon's 2022 blockbuster series 'Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power'.

'The Magic of Middle-earth' will take visitors on a journey beyond the books to explore Tolkien's expansive artistic legacy.

The exhibition features more than 200 incredible artworks and objects from across the decades, including:

  • A rare first edition copy of The Hobbit from 1937;
  • Dramatic models and dioramas including The Battle of Helms Deep;
  • Concept artwork, theatre, music and movie-inspired memorabilia and prop replicas;
  • Stunning paintings of dragons, Ents and Elves and artwork illustrating Tolkien's deep passion for the natural world;
  • Middle-earth inspired video games and LEGO® sets; and,
  • A soundscape including music by Howard Shore, who composed, orchestrated, conducted and produced the music of 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy (2001-2003) and 'The Hobbit' film series (2012-2014).

Visitors can also look forward to some interactive gallery features in the 'Hobbiton' family area; take a selfie in a Hobbit chair; and experience the surprise of an animatronic version of Smaug the Dragon! 'Little halflings' can get into character with fancy dress costumes and follow a Mystical Quest trail through the museum.

Collector and Exhibition Curator, Matt Fox, says: "I really want to transport visitors with this exhibition and allow those who enjoy immersing themselves in Middle-earth that indulgence. This is the first exhibition to bring together and make sense of Tolkien's cultural legacy. For me, it's a feast for the imagination and I'm really happy to be able to share it with visitors to The Novium Museum in Chichester."

Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Culture and Community Services at Chichester District Council says: "We are thrilled to be bringing this fascinating exhibition to Chichester. As well as being a 'must see' for Tolkien fans, 'The Magic of Middle-earth' is sure to capture the imagination of all ages and will be enjoyed by the whole family."

The exhibition will replace 'The Art of Chichester: 60 Years of Creativity' which closes on Saturday 25 February.

'The Magic of Middle-earth' opens at The Novium Museum on Saturday 1 April and will run until Sunday 24 September 2023. Tickets to the exhibition cost £4 for adults, £2.50 for a child and £12 for a family of up to five (maximum two adults).

Relaxed SEN (Special Educational Needs) sessions are available, please see The Novium Museum's website for details. Advance booking is essential. Entry to the rest of the museum remains free, with donations gratefully accepted.

Date of release: 16 January 2023

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