Arundel Gate, S1 2PP
0114 278 2600
Open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 11am-4pm. Entry is free.Visit site
Walk out of Sheffield station and head up the slope leading into the city centre you'll spot the Millennium Gallery waiting for you at the top, waving its friendly welcome. The gallery is always full of life – thanks largely to its excellent exhibitions, but also to its bright cafe, the delights of its gift shop, and its avenue that opens straight onto the Winter Gardens.
The Millennium Gallery's inclinations lean a little more to the modern side than those of its older sibling, the Graves. Handily the two are just over the road from one another, so you can easily hop from one to the other for a trip through a few hundred centuries' worth of art.
In recent years the Millennium Gallery's large-scale temporary and touring exhibitions have included everything from international haute couture to sonic installations encouraging visitors to listen again to the surrounding city.
One of the most important players in Sheffield's cultural heritage, steelwork is intrinsic – albeit in quite different ways – to the two permanent spaces in the gallery: the Metalwork Collection and the Ruskin Collection.
In the Metalwork gallery you'll find shiny fruits of industry produced in Sheffield and across the country – from knives and spoons dating back hundreds of years, to an elaborate turtle-shaped soup dish made from Old Sheffield Plate, to recent works of high-quality craft from the likes of David Mellor Design.
The Ruskin Collection, meanwhile, exists thanks to the social conviction of one man: Victorian aesthete John Ruskin. In 1875 Ruskin opened a museum in a Walkley cottage with the specific aim of educating and inspiring Sheffield's metalworkers, showing them the patterns, colours, textures and sights of a wider world that they had no other way of accessing. The Millennium Gallery has taken on Ruskin's original intention of making art accessible to all, and this huge collection is on rotating display in the gallery; at any one time you may find colourful prints of exotic birds, botanic illustrations, diagrams of Gothic architecture, antique manuscripts, and glimmering minerals.
Alongside the exhibitions, the gallery hosts related lunchtime talks and one-off interactive evening events in its Live Late series. Take a look at the programme and get involved.
Oh, and don't forget to pay a visit to the gift shop.
Photo by Andy Brown, courtesy of Museums Sheffield.