The Stars of Lord of the Rings Want to Make J.R.R. Tolkien's Home Into a Museum

Ian McKellen is among the stars trying to raise money to make an official J.R.R. Tolkien museum.
Ian McKellen is among the stars trying to raise money to make an official J.R.R. Tolkien museum.
Photo: New Line Cinema

Thanks to Peter Jackson, fans of J.R.R. Tolkien can travel to New Zealand to visit sets and locations from The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. But if one of those fans really wanted to learn about Tolkien himself, and see the actual location where Middle-earth was created, they can’t. But that might be changing.

Tolkien wrote most of those books during the 17 years he lived in Oxford, England, and his former home there is about to go up for sale. In response, stars of the films including Sir Ian McKellen, John Rhys-Davies, and Martin Freeman have teamed up to launch Project Northmoor. It’s a fundraising campaign aiming to buy the house located at 20 Northmoor Road and turn it into a full-on literary center and museum dedicated to Tolkien and his work.


“This is just an opportunity that can’t be ignored,” Rhys-Davies told People, which broke the story. “If people are still reading in 1,000 years, Tolkien will be regarded as one of the great myth-makers of Britain and it will be evident within a matter of years that not to secure this place would have been such an act of arrogance and ignorance and folly on our part.”

Making this happen is no simple task, though. It’ll cost a minimum of $4 million just to purchase the house and land. From there, any additional goals the campaign hits will trigger upgrades to the center such as renovating it to look as it did in Tolkien’s time, adding a real-life Hobbit house, and more. You can see those stretch goals at this link.

The stars also did a video about the project, which you can watch below.


For all the information, including how and where to donate, visit Any donor over $25 will have their name in a book that’ll be kept in Tolkien’s study. But, of course, the more you donate, the more you can get. And if the project is successful, we all get a dream location for a future geeky vacation.


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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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This just feels wrong in a lot of ways. Crowdfund a house just to put some money into the hands of people who have nothing to do with Tolkien? Not like this project is being put forward by his estate. The project is led by a British author who started a “non-profit” group to purchase the house once it went on the market last year. No one bought it and this group apparently convinced the current owners to take it off the market to give the group time to raise money.

So, this is an effort to simply buy a house and maybe slap some Lord of the Rings decorations or movie props around the property. Not a museum with articles of historical interest tracing Tolkien’s history. I’m sensing the whispering of Wormtongue in this project.