“ The galleries break with the traditional institutional image of an art gallery and is a welcoming and vibrant place to be for pleasure, education and business. Four galleries under one roof - The Special Exhibition Gallery, The Metalwork Gallery, The Rusk „
As I live close to Sheffield city centre, and since I also have a keen interest in art, I am a regular visit to the Millennium Gallery. The gallery has been open since 2001, and it still looks modern and vibrant today - it definitely brightens up the city centre.
It is located smack bang in the middle of town on Arundel Gate, so it is just a short walk from Hallam University, as well as the Crucible theatre, and the library. If you are visiting Sheffield by train, you will be pleased to know that the gallery is just a 5 minute walk from the station, and it's really easy to find (unfortunately it's all up hill!). Sheffield is also served by excellent bus links, so you can be sure your journey will be a fairly stress-free one.
The gallery itself is fairly small, I'm pretty sure you could have a good look around most of it in around an hour, so I wouldn't advise taking a trip here for the gallery alone. I would recommend checking out the Graves Gallery (which is just next door) to get the most out of your day in Sheffield.
There are a couple of permanent exhibitions in the Millennium Gallery, and I'll give a brief overview about them below.
The Ruskin Collection.
This is the first exhibition you will come to if you are entering the gallery via the Winter Garden. It is situated in a fairly small room, but it is jam packed with display cases, and offers lots to look at. John Ruskin himself was a Victorian writer who was clearly interested in nature, and this is shown in the artwork on display. There are plenty of dainty watercolours to look at, and lots of fine detailed work. I'm sure this won't be to everyone's taste, but I actually really enjoyed viewing some of the smaller pieces in this room (especially the little watercolours of Italy).
This is one of the larger rooms in the gallery, and it's dedicated to Sheffield's steel and metalworking heritage. There is certainly lots to look at, and some of it is quite unusual. There is a big collection of Swiss army knives, and some of them are massive, and quite unlike anything I have ever seen before! There is of course, some of the more 'everyday' items such as cutlery, and pans, but the workmanship that has gone into them is really extraordinary. There are also a couple of videos and interactive displays in this gallery, which might be fun for children.
In addition to the permanent displays, the Millennium Gallery also hosts a good range of temporary exhibitions, which are usually very varied. In the past they have had exhibitions ranging from local street/graffiti artist Kid Acne, to the family in British art - so there is definitely something for everyone!
The current exhibitions are entitled 'Under the Sea' and 'Little Gems'. Under the Sea focuses on various ocean life forms, and art work that uses sea life as it's inspiration. As you can imagine it is quite a colourful and dreamy exhibition, and I think this is one that children may like. Little Gems is a project based on silver-smithing, which is nice to view some of the modern metalwork happening in the city.
There are also two cafe venues available on the ground floor of the gallery. There is the coffee cart, which is primarily for quick takeaway snacks, such as cake, biscuits, and hot drinks. The hot drinks are just £1.00 each from the cart, and I would personally recommend the Belgian hot chocolate - very yummy!
The sit-down cafe offers a lot more variety, and the staff are extremely friendly and helpful. I don't find the cafe to be overly cheap, a cooked breakfast costs around £6.75, and fish and chips will set you back £10.65, but the general quality is high. They also offer a variety of sandwiches, cakes and pastries - so I think there would be something for everyone.
The toilets are located on the ground floor very close to the coffee cart, and are usually clean and in good order. They are free, but there is a tub if you wanted to make a donation to the gallery.
There is also disabled access throughout the gallery - although the lift is incredibly slow considering the short distance is has to travel.
The gallery has it's own gift shop, which stocks a huge variety of cards, jewellery, children's toys, and local memorabilia. As with most shops of this kind, the prices tend to be on the pricey side, but there are a lot of unique things available if you fancied treating yourself to a memento.
All in all, the gallery is definitely worth a visit if you are in Sheffield for the day.
The Millennium Gallery is open every day.
Opening times: Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 11am - 4pm
The gallery is free, so please check it out if you can!
The Millennium Galleries have been created as part of the Millennium regeneration project and can be found in the centre of the city opposite the Sheffield Hallam University. I decided to pay it a visit on a recent trip to Sheffield after reading missbrowneyedgirl's opinion. It consists of four separate galleries containing a mixture of permanent exhibits and special exhibitions. Entry to the majority of the galleries is free and a visit is highly recommended for both adults and families. TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS GALLERY Current Exhibition The first gallery houses a temporary exhibition, which changes every few months. Until 19 May 2002 the current exhibition is 'Moving Pictures', an exhibition exploring the moving image of television and cinema. There are famous props and costumes from your favourite films and television shows, including Harry Potter's school uniform, Russell Crowe's 'Gladiator' outfit (shame no hunky man filling it though), Marilyn Monroe's dress from 'Some Like it Hot' and the battle attire of a Stormtrooper from 'Star Wars' You will also encounter K9, canine companion of the Tom Baker Doctor Who. No sign of his stripy scarf though! Beware the daleks, one of whom is also lurking in the galleries. Rather amusingly this enemy of Doctor Who is to be found at the bottom of an escalator and, as we all know, the daleks could never have conquered Earth, as they can't climb stairs! This is not just a museum-like trawl through items, however, as there are also exciting 'hands-on' activities to amuse children and adults alike. You will have the opportunity to create your own cartoon and take part in a gameshow. Admission Prices Adults £4 Concessions £3 Children £2 Under 5s free Family ticket £9 Forthcoming Exhibitions 22 May - 16 June 2002: A Time to Celebrate In honour of the
Queen's Golden Jubilee an examination of the history of jubilees and coronations with exhibits from art and history collections and exhibits contributed by the people of Sheffield. (Admission free). 22 June - 15 September 2002: The Power of the Poster On tour from the Victoria and Albert Museum, an exhibition examining the history of the poster from its creation in the 1870s to the present. Posters on display from the worlds of politics, art and commerce. (Admission prices as above). THE METALWORK GALLERY As Sheffield is most famous for its steel you will not be surprised to find a gallery devoted to its history of manufacturing metal. There are examples of cutlery, silverware and tools and information on manufacturing processes from the 14th century to the present. This may sound as though it might be rather tedious for the younger visitor, however this is not the case. There are headsets around the exhibition, which can be picked up and you can select what you want to listen to. The tapes consist of interviews with people from the Sheffield area who lived and worked within the metalwork community talking about their experiences in the trade. There are also touch-screen computers with further information and footage of the manufacture of penknives, cutlery, sheet metal etc. There is a selection of silver/pewter/stainless steel items, which you must handle and try to identify which is which. You have the opportunity to create your own hallmark on a silver piece of card, which you can take home with you. There is also a magnetic board containing pieces of silver teapots, from which you have to create your own version. In this gallery some of my favourite exhibits included a child's training set of cutlery, which had little dimples on the handles where the child should put their fingers when eating. There was a knife designed especially for eating peas with a groove down the middle on which t
o balance those tricky round vegetables. For the more discerning cutlery user there was a knife to be used especially for eating caviar (as you do) with a mother of pearl blade, as metal would spoil the taste of the delicacy. Admission free. CRAFT AND DESIGN GALLERY Current Exhibition This gallery houses temporary exhibitions of both old and contemporary craft and design (would you have guessed if I hadn't told you?). The present exhibition, on until 12 May 2002, is The Chosen Letter consisting of works of art where each artist has chosen a different way to represent a letter of the alphabet. This lead to quite a varied exhibition with paintings, sculptures and living items! Some of my favourites included a Ralph Steadman painting of the letter X, with his characteristic messy ink splots. The letter why was created from ivy growing around twigs in the shape of the letter. There was also a first edition book of Edward Lear's illustrated alphabet containing my favourite rhyme for the letter R: 'R was a Rabbit. He hopped - O, so funny! He had such long ears, And his name - it was Bunny.' Admission free. Forthcoming Exhibitions 27 May - 27 June 2002: Metalwork and Jewellery from Sheffield Hallam University A display of work by graduates from the Metalwork and Jewellery department at the University from 1992 - 2002. If you visit the gallery during this month it seems that you may get metalwork overload! THE RUSKIN GALLERY This gallery houses a permanent collection of paintings, drawings, rocks and minerals accumulated by the renowned artist and writer John Ruskin in 1875. It is displayed in such a way that it examines how the artist takes inspiration from nature and how patterns found in a bird's feather, a wasp's nest or a rock can be used within a painting. Once more the curators have tried to add int
erest for the younger visitor by having an area where you have to try to examine and recreate various knots, including making a replica model of the boss of a cathedral. There are some portable seats and paper and pencils provided in the corner of the gallery and you are encouraged to try your hand at drawing. There is also another touch-screen computer cataloguing over 40,000 items from contemporary local artists. Admission free. OTHER ATTRACTIONS A shop! This contains rather expensive merchandise ranging from the work of local artists to pencils (a pack of 6 for £8!). There is also an area dedicated especially to art, containing numerous books, posters and postcards. Don't let your kids run rampant, as if breakages must be paid for you might need to take out a loan! Also on site is the Café Azure, where there is a range of drinks, snacks and meals. This is reasonably priced and the room is light and airy and in keeping with the atmosphere of a modern gallery. PRACTICAL INFORMATION Opening Times Monday - Saturday: 10am - 5pm Sunday: 11am - 5pm Location On the A621 behind the Winter Gardens. The nearest NCP is at Arundel Gate and if you enquire at the reception to the gallery you will be given a voucher entitling you to stay at the car park for up to three hours for only £3. Further Information www.sheffieldgalleries.org.uk
Oddly enough, Sheffield's Millennium Galleries were a Millennium project. Situated on Arundel Gate in the city centre they form a part of the 'Heart of the City' regeneration project. This project has also seen the demolition of the Eggbox (Sheffield's 60s town hall - see http://www.bbc.co.uk/southyorkshire/talk/eggbox.shtml), and has led a friend of mine to say that he doesn't feel like he's in Sheffield when he's in that part of the city. He has lived in Sheffield for all of his life! But I can see what he means as that half of Arundel Gate has a very new and cosmopolitan feel to it. Anyway, to cut a long story as short as I can (which isn't very short as you probably know!), after being seduced by a poster depicting a Star Wars Stormtrooper, my friends and I decided to pay the Galleries a visit last Saturday. The Galleries don't have exclusive parking facilities as such, but being in the town centre there are plenty nearby. Probably the most convenient and available is the NCP car park on the opposite side of Arundel Gate but beware, it is fairly expensive. The Galleries themselves reside in a very impressive looking glass building along a white pathway, scattered with trees and reminiscent of being in faraway lands. After being in awe for a while, and taking a few snaps with my L'espion, we ventured towards the circular sliding entrance. As I mentioned, the main reason we were there was for the current feature exhibition: the British Film Institute presents moving pictures. This travelling exhibition is running at the Millennium Galleries until May 19th - more information can be found at http://www.bfi.org.uk/movingpictures. The posters, which had tempted us, also depicted Zippy & George from rainbow and one of Dr Who's Daleks, and lo and behold this self-same Dalek silently greeted us immediately in the entrance of the building. I'd have like to get a little closer to him but th
e imposing presence of the nearby security guard kept my fingers in my pockets...;) The whole building is very light, airy and quiet for a Saturday afternoon! The actual Galleries are all up the escalator opposite the entrance so up we went. Arriving on the next floor we found a selection of glass cabinets containing Harry Potter's school uniform, the original Stormtrooper costume and a dress from a film (so uninteresting I can't recall which). Next you pay and enter the Special Exhibition Gallery, which is divided into small areas. Firstly the entrance area has original film posters including Jaws, The Full Monty, The Sound of Music, Billy Elliot and Vertigo to name but a few. These images are all quite familiar and not of any real interest to me although I was captivated for a while by the large screen showcasing snippets of films. This sparked of a bit of a competition between my friends of who could guess the film title first for each snippet, and the resulting amusement was worth the entrance fee alone! The next section is time based whereby the display cabinet contents take you from early cinematography machines and peep show boxes right up to Russell crow's gladiator outfit. Text on the cabinets describes each period in film, with screens showing more snippets of the time on the front of each cabinet. One in particular has Marilyn Monroe's dress from Some Like It Hot which can be seen on the lady herself in you watch the snippets for long enough! The next section is dedicated to the small screen and has three sofas, each with their own old TV set and glass display table from their time. The televisions themselves are showing program snippets and the tables hold some very interesting items. The best in my eyes was Zippy, although George was sadly absent, who struck me as very short and upset me when I noticed that his arm isn't even attached to the puppet body! They also have an early video recorder, whic
h is larger than most television sets, and Brian's Mr Bear from Big Brother! Next comes the animation section and for me the most interesting piece in the exhibition - the original hand drawn storyboards from The Empire Strikes Back. The quality of the drawings are unbelievable and little touches like R2D2 being referred to as 'Artoo' make it really special. There are many other storyboards; the one from The Red Shoes is particularly outstanding, and also lots of cells from Disney classics and other animated films. The exhibition is also interactive with the inclusion of a kids area where they can dress up as their favourite film characters or make their own animation, some of which are displayed in cases on the wall. There is also a man running a kind of TV game show in the back corner that you can choose to watch or participate in. The Millennium Galleries has family activity days occurring within this exhibition including Science Day and Sound Effects Workshops (contact them on 0114 275 2655 for more information or visit the website at http://www.sheffieldgalleries.org.uk or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org). Finally there is the inevitable shop which sells a variety of film and TV memorabilia including books, postcards and toys. Some of these are quite unusual such as toys of the Spoon family from Button Moon and numbered collector's pictures. I think they could have done more with this exhibition but I suppose it is difficult as it is touring. Do fill in one of the Customer Comment cards before you leave and hand it in, as this enters you into a draw to win a UCG Unlimited Cinema Pass for a year. Within the building the other galleries free so we popped into the Metalwork Gallery which I personally found more interesting then the Moving Pictures exhibition! It had crowns, cutlery, hallmarks, a history of Sheffield's steel and all sorts of interesting examples of metalwork. There is also the Rus
kin Gallery and the Craft & Design Gallery displaying John Ruskin's art collection and The Chosen Letter - an exhibition of lettering - respectively. There is also a shop upstairs, outside of the paying gallery, although I didn't really look to see what they sold. They do however have a giant interactive cutlery monster that does various things when you press the buttons on his stomach. I could imagine children finding him little frightening, as he is at least 10 feet tall and an incredible construction achievement! Back downstairs the Galleries have the Café Azur, which is an expensive but fully licensed café bar. The view from here is lovely as it is right at the front of the building with it's floor to ceiling windows. Apparently they also cater for functions too! Overall I really enjoyed my visit to the Millennium Galleries and I will be returning to have a look at The Power of the Poster (22 June - 15 September 2002) from the Victoria and Albert Museum and 2D>3D: Contemporary Design For Performance (October/December 2002).