Millennium Gallery and Weston Park Museum to reopen in Sheffield
05 August 2020
Museums Sheffield have announced that two of the city’s most popular museums are set to welcome visitors again later this month. The Millennium Gallery and Weston Park Museum will reopen their doors to the public from Monday 17 August with a range of measures in place to keep everyone safe whilst enjoying a warm welcome and a great visit.
Visitors will once again have the opportunity to see some of their favourite exhibits, from Spike the Woolly Rhino to the treasures of the Ruskin Collection, as the two museums welcome back visitors after five months of closure. The Graves Gallery won’t be too far behind – the gallery is scheduled to reopen with the rest of the Central Library building in the coming weeks, with the announcement of a reopening date expected soon.
Museums Sheffield has introduced a series of comprehensive safety measures to ensure people can visit the museums with confidence. At the Millennium Gallery and Weston Park Museum, these include:
- The introduction of free pre-booked visits to manage visitor flow and support NHS Trace & Trace, alongside some capacity for walk-up entry
- Adapting the air handling systems to improve ventilation
- Asking visitors to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing
- Hand sanitiser available throughout the museums
- Enhanced cleaning throughout the day
- One-way routes in some areas
- Clear social distancing guidance
- Removing dressing up costumes and some interactives for a little while
- Installing screens on shop counters and card-only payments
Pre-booking for free visits will open at 10am on Thursday 13 August via Eventbrite – information on how to book and what to expect from a visit is available now at museums-sheffield.org.uk/welcome-back.
Both museums will initially be operating revised opening hours, with each site open 11am-3pm every day. Walk-up visits will still be available, although numbers will be limited, so booking is strongly advised to guarantee entry.
To help manage numbers in the building, the Millennium Gallery will also temporarily change how its entrances and exists operate, with visitors being asked to enter via Arundel Gate and exit through the Winter Garden. Each venue’s Ambulo café is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday 1 September, initially with a limited menu – they’ll be operating socially-distanced seating, with an extended outdoor space at the Millennium Gallery. The toilets at both sites will be open from the outset, in a limited capacity.
There will be plenty to see when the museums reopen, including a brand-new gallery at Weston Park Museum. Sheffield Stories celebrates the very best thing about our fantastic city, its people; looking at life in the city during the 1950s, 60s and 70s the new gallery’s first displays been developed in partnership with residents in the South East of the city and bring together fashion, photographs, toys and mementos, and more. Visitors will also find all their favourites waiting for them, including the new Ancient Egypt gallery which made its debut earlier in the year
At the Millennium Gallery, visitors will initially be able to enjoy the Metalwork and Ruskin Collection displays, as well as the Nomadic Tales exhibition from Sheffield-based artist, Richard Bartle. Then from Saturday 12 September, the popular Lines of Beauty: Master Drawings from Chatsworth exhibition returns, showcasing work by greats including Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck from the Devonshire Collection and continuing until 1 November.
Kim Streets, Chief Executive of Museums Sheffield, says: ‘We can’t wait to welcome visitors back – it will be fantastic to see people come through the doors and bring the museums back to life again. Keeping everyone safe is our number one priority and we’ve spent the last few months making sure we have all the right measures in place so everyone can visit with confidence. Over the coming weeks we’ll be listening to visitor feedback and continuing to review and update our procedures in accordance with developing Public Health England guidance.
‘We’re particularly excited to share the new Sheffield Stories gallery at Weston Park, which was due to open just as we went into lockdown. We’re also really pleased to reopen the Lines of Beauty exhibition at the Millennium Gallery next month; we had some wonderful feedback from visitors about the exhibition before it had to close early, so we’re delighted that there’s another chance to see it this autumn.’
The closure of the sites for five months during lockdown has had a significant financial impact on Museum Sheffield, which as a charity generates 30% of its income each year. Kim Streets says: ‘Like arts organisations across the country, we’ve been hit hard by the closure period, losing any income we’d normally raise through our shops, cafés, commercial hire and the generous donations of our visitors. We’re doing all we can to reopen safely so visitors can feel confident in returning. Every pound they spend in our shops or are able to give via our contactless donation stations will make a huge difference in helping safeguard the city’s museums and galleries.’
For up-to-date reopening info, visit museums-sheffield.org.uk/welcome-back