Newest Review: ... about them below. The Ruskin Collection. This is the first exhibition you will come to if you are entering the gallery via the Win... more
A lovely gallery venue.
The Millennium Galleries (Sheffield)
Member Name: Kittenpeach
The Millennium Galleries (Sheffield)
Advantages: Some great exhibitions, free, easy to get to.
Disadvantages: It is a rather small gallery.
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!