Museums Sheffield: Millennium Gallery

A photo of a modern building in a city centre
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Shop icon Study area icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

Step into one of Sheffield’s architectural treasures, the award winning Millennium Gallery, an inspiring venue in the heart of the city centre.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Mon - Sat 10.00-17.00
Sun 11.00-16.00

Admission charges

Admission to Millennium Gallery is free, except for some special exhibitions.

Additional info

See website for details

The Metalwork Gallery is home to Sheffield's Designated Collection of metalwork, which hads been recognised for its national significance.

The collection is made up of cutlery, flatware and hollowware made in the city, together with an outstanding selection of comparative material from Europe and many parts of Africa and Asia. It includes silver, pewter, stainless steel and Old Sheffield Plate and is the best collection of its kind in this country and almost certainly the world. The collection dates from the 14th century to the present day and includes unique, handcrafted one-off pieces and examples of the mass-produced cutlery for which Sheffield has an international reputation.

Also housed at the Millennium Gallery, The Ruskin Collection reopened in spring 2011 following a major redevelopment programme which has transformed the Ruskin displays.

The collection was brought together by John Ruskin (1819 - 1900), a renowned Victorian writer, artist, and critic who had a major impact on nineteenth century thinking. In 1875 Ruskin established a small museum in Sheffield so that the ‘working men’ would be able to enjoy and benefit from seeing this wide-ranging collection. Since then the Ruskin Gallery has had various homes in Sheffield; Meersbrook Park, the Hays building on Norfolk Street and since 2001 has been shown at the Millennium Gallery.

The four month redevelopment programme has seen a total redesign of the gallery space, new display cases and lighting, as well as improved access to the collection. The new displays include the chance to explore ‘Ruskin’s Desk’, a new interactive telling the story of the collection, brand new audio visual interpretation and the addition of new comfy seating.

Owned by the Guild of St. George, the collection contains an array of paintings, drawings, photographs, books, and minerals, all of which illustrate the beauty of the natural world or the skill of craftsman and artists. An exquisite painting of St Mark’s in Venice by J.W. Bunney, medieval illuminated manuscripts and detailed botanical drawings can be seen in the gallery alongside large plaster casts of architectural features from ancient buildings and beautiful minerals such as opal and ameythyst.

Collection details

Fine Art, Film and Media, Design, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • The Millennium Gallery has two temporary exhibition spaces. The Special Exhibition Gallery shows blockbuster exhibitions from national galleries and museums such as the V&A, Tate and the National Portrait Gallery. The craft and Design Gallery shows the best in contemporary craft and design.
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

The Ruskin Collection

  • 1 January 2000 — 1 January 2020 *on now

John Ruskin, who formed this collection, was a Victorian writer who searched passionately for beauty in the world around him. He explored nature from the smallest pebble to the mightiest landscape and examined art from the daintiest brush stroke to soaring architectural structures.

During his lifetime,England’s manufacturing cities expanded and became wealthy, whilst their workforces lived in poverty and grime. Workers had little to inspire them. Ruskin wanted to counter this imbalance and set up the Guild of St George, a philanthropic society. Through the Guild, Ruskin founded a museum specifically for Sheffield’s workers. He filled it with a collection of artworks, illustrated books and minerals, all chosen to reflect his exploration of beauty.

Originally sited at Walkley, just outside the city centre, visitors could escape the smoke that surrounded them and immerse themselves in nature and art. Today, though the Ruskin Collection is exhibited in the city centre, it is still displayed and used as the creative and inspirational tool that Ruskin intended.

Visitors to the Ruskin Collection will see a broad range of exhibits, including early renaissance art, gothic architecture, engravings, mosaic decoration, illustrations of birds, flowers, insects, geological specimens, illustrated books and medieval manuscripts.

The items on display from the Ruskin Collection are changed twice each year. Explore the collection through the changing displays, and find out if you share Ruskin’s thoughts on beauty.

NADFAS Bursary Display

  • 19 January 2015 — 31 January 2016 *on now

The annual National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies bursary is awarded to a promising second year students on the Metalwork & Jewellery course at Sheffield Hallam University.

The bursary enables these students to design and make a piece of silver. Using a project brief called ‘Designing for Clients’, each student makes a presentation on an object they wish to make for use by a real person, dead or alive.

This year’s bursary is has been awarded to Alexandra Defina, who has created a drinking vessel for the American athlete, actress, model and campaigner, Aimee Mullins. Following the amputation of both her lower legs due to a medical condition, Mullins has gone on to become a world-class athlete, excelling in many sports. The piece was inspired by Mullins’ different strengths and abilities when wearing different prosthetic legs.


Going Public: International Art Collectors in Sheffield

  • 16 September — 12 December 2015 *on now

It was once taken for granted that every major city in the UK should collect art for the benefit of its people. Many great collections, Sheffield’s included, were founded upon the philanthropic bequests of private collectors. Where are the philanthropists of the future, and what role do public galleries and private collections play in bringing great art to everyone?

To kick-start a debate, venues across Sheffield partner with major European art collectors this autumn to bring a programme of world class exhibitions and unique events to the city.

The Millennium Gallery hosts a range of works from the Nicolas Cattelain Collection by artists including Sol LeWitt, Do Ho Suh, Dan Flavin, Anthony McCall and more.

Rarely-seen works and archival material by Marcel Duchamp and his circle from the vast collection of Egidio Marzona form a focused exhibition at the Graves Gallery.

Installations by Sarah Lucas, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Maurizio Cattelan, among other leading contemporary artists, are displayed throughout Sheffield Cathedral, drawn from the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Collection.


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Contemporary Metalwork in Sheffield - Living Metal

Explore the skills and knowledge of today's metalworkers in Sheffield. Discover the products made and find out more about the people who make them. Explore the skills and knowledge that people and companies use in the production.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Culture Quake: Interpreting a gallery creatively

Downloadable lesson plans providing ideas for using a gallery or museum with music, writing and art & design. The worksheets can be used with any gallery collection.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Exploring Nature and Pattern Through Art

Investigating the theme of nature and art through the work of John Ruskin.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Metalwork Gallery Animations: Cigarette box

A beautiful animation showing how a stylised silver 1930's cigarette box by Joyce Himsworth was made and how it was used.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Metalwork Gallery Animations: Ear trumpet

An animation showing how an ear trumpet made in the 1820s would be used by those who were hard of hearing to amplify sound directly into the ear.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Metalwork Gallery Animations: Moustache Tablespoon

An animation about how a Moustache Tablespoon made in 1883 was used to prevent a gentleman’s moustache from being soiled when eating soup.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Metalwork Gallery Animations: Pea knife

An animation about the use of a 1930s Pea knife, designed to assist a diner to eat peas. The peas were balanced along the central slot, enabling them to be raised to mouth without rolling off the blade. It is possible that this knife was designed to be used by children.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Metalwork Gallery Animations: Turtle soup tureen

An animation about how a 1800s turtle soup tureen was made and used. The tureen could hold up to six litres of soup in its body and was used to serve soup made from green turtles imported from the West Indies. Turtle soup and mock turtle soup were very popular dishes in Victorian times.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Metalwork in Sheffield

Learn about the history of Sheffield's metalwork, read interviews with metalworkers and watch short video clips of metalworkers in action.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Ruskin and Nature - explore the gallery with your class

A resource about the importance John Ruskin placed on nature and his belief that we should never take our environment for granted. His collection which inspired the craftsmen of Sheffield is founded on these beliefs and contains many references to nature - good images.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Thomas´s Metalwork Trail, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

A gallery trail for three to six year olds with Thomas the Soup Tureen, plus good images and information about objects in Sheffield's Metalwork Gallery including tea urns, ivory handles, unusual cutlery and mythical beasts.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Museums Sheffield: Millennium Gallery
Millennium Gallery
Arundel Gate
South Yorkshire
S1 2PP




Main Reception

0114 278 2600

Bookings for Tours, Talks, Events and School Trips

0114 278 2655

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.