Museums Sheffield: Millennium Gallery

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.
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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.

Millennium Gallery

Metalwork Collection Highlights

  • 1 December 2014 — 12 April 2015 *on now

The home of Sheffield’s metalwork collection is being refurbished this winter thanks to the support of the DCMS Wolfson Fund and other generous funders. Over the next few months this display will showcase some of the highlights of this unique collection, from prehistoric cutlery to contemporary design. The refurbished gallery will open in spring 2015.

JMW Turner View of Sheffield from Derbyshire Lane 1797

Picturing Sheffield

  • 1 December 2014 — 12 April 2015 *on now

Sheffield is one of the greenest cities in Europe and has been called the largest village in England. Yet the city has rarely been called beautiful.

Picturing Sheffield will journey through Sheffield past and present to examine the relationship between views of the city and the identity of the people who have lived and died here. From the ghosts of former landmarks to the contemporary regeneration of the city, this exhibition asks what we mean by beauty and whether it can be found in unexpected places.

Picturing Sheffield includes work by key artists from the 1700s to the present day, including JMW Turner, Joe Scarborough, Bill Brandt, Frank Constantine, Godfrey Sykes, Linda Benedict Jones and John Hoyland.

 Blue Crane or Heron John James Audubon engraved by Robert Havell

The Illustrated Aviary

  • 31 January — 14 June 2015 *on now

In the mid-1800s, naturalist Thomas Campbell Eyton was buying watercolours and prints of birds by the carriage load. Now part of the Ruskin Collection, the illustrations reveal the extraordinary beauty of birds, yet they also show the vulnerability Eyton and the scientific community were beginning to comprehend, with many birds depicted now vanished or under threat.

This exhibition draws together 70 works by notable bird artists such as John James Audubon, Edward Lear and John Gould. From the weird and wonderful to familiar feathered friends, it charts their discoveries and techniques with vivid and luxurious imagery.

Assisted by a brand new commission from contemporary artist Mr Finch and specimens from Museums Sheffield’s own natural history collection, The Illustrated Aviary allows Eyton’s spectacular collection to take flight once more.

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

LIVE LATE: Dirtyface Live

  • 24 April 2015 7:30-10:30pm

Join us for a night of art, music, live mural painting and have-a-go creative activity hosted in collaboration with Confirmed artists working live on the night include Kid Acne and Florence Blanchard.

Introduction to Lino Printing

  • 25 April 2015 10:30am-4:30pm

Taking inspiration from the Edward Bawden exhibition, learn how to make your own one-colour prints in an introductory workshop led by local artist, James Green. All materials are included and at the end of the day you will take away a finished linocut print.


£35, please book in advance on 0114 278 2655 or email

Lunchtime Talk: The Hallmarking of Precious Metals

  • 30 April 2015 1-1:45pm

The hallmarking of precious metals began in the UK in the early 1300s. Sheffield Assay Office Curator, Librarian and Archivist, Emma Paragreen, will cover the history of hallmarking and the work of the Sheffield Assay Office over the last 242 years.

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.