- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — At a Kentucky museum, the reign is ending soon for an exhibition of medieval artifacts from England that’s so prized that it took an act of Parliament to create the trans-Atlantic partnership that brought the collection to the United States.

The Frazier History Museum said Friday that the decade-long exhibition featuring more than 400 artifacts dating to the 11th century will continue through 2014. After that, the collection of armor, spears, axes, swords, muskets and more will be packed and returned to its permanent home in Leeds, England.

The items - on loan from the National Museum of Arms and Armour - have been displayed at the Frazier since its 2004 opening in downtown Louisville. The Royal Armouries collection was a prize catch for Louisville philanthropist and businessman Owsley Brown Frazier, who founded the museum.

The formal agreement creating the collaboration was signed at the Tower of London in 2003.

Both sides said Friday the partnership has been a success, and said they looked forward to working together again.

“This pioneering arrangement has brought hundreds of our best objects, vivid exposure to English history, and aspects of our common story, to a U.S. audience,” Dr. Edward Impey, director general and master of the Royal Armouries, said in a statement.

Frazier Museum officials said there had been no set timeframe for the length of the exhibition, which is scheduled to close to the public on Jan. 4, 2015.

Paula Hale, the Frazier Museum’s interim director, said the Royal Armouries items have been a mainstay.

“But 10 years is a long time, and missions change,” she said. “It has been a rewarding relationship. We are eternally grateful for this unique opportunity to share this amazing exhibit and its many stories with our visitors.”

Once the collection returns to England, some objects will be displayed at the Tower of London and others at the Leeds museum, the Frazier said.

The collection tells the story of more than 1,000 years of British and world history from the early Middle Ages to the end of the British Empire.

The Frazier draws about 100,000 visitors per year. The museum has broadened its mission to include a wider array of cultural and educational exhibits. The third-floor space occupied by the Royal Armouries collection will be reconfigured in part to display more of the museum’s permanent collections.

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