Sheffield’s museums reopen in May

Sheffield’s museums reopen in May supporting image

Sheffield’s museums are set to reopen in May with free entry for all!

- Kelham Island Museum, Millennium Gallery and Weston Park Museum to reopen on Thursday 20 May

- Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet to reopen from Saturday 29 May and Shepherd Wheel on Saturday 5 June

- FREE ENTRY for all visitors introduced at Kelham Island Museum and Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet

- New programme of displays, events and experiences for visitors to enjoy, including Cecil Beaton’ Bright Young Things, a major exhibition direct from the National Portrait Gallery

The city’s museums are set to open their doors again from Thursday 20 May as current Government restrictions come to an end. Sheffield Museums will welcome visitors with new exhibitions and displays, as well as the introduction of free entry at Kelham Island Museum and Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, alongside a range of safety measures to ensure that everyone can visit with confidence.


The introduction of free entry at Kelham Island Museum and Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet follows the formation of Sheffield Museums, a new charitable trust established last month which brought together Museums Sheffield and Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust. The removal of admission charges at Kelham and Abbeydale sees all the sites operated by the new trust, which also includes Graves Gallery, Millennium Gallery, Shepherd Wheel and Weston Park Museum, become free entry and available to all.


At Kelham Island Museum, which opens on Thursday 20 May, visitors will be once again be able to experience the rumble and roar of the River Don Engine, which will be in steam publicly for the first time in over 8 months. They’ll also have the chance to explore displays celebrating the centuries of incredible innovation that has cemented Sheffield’s reputation for excellence in making, including visitor favourites Little Mesters Lane and the Sheffield Simplex cars.


The Millennium Gallery reopens on Thursday 20 May with a dazzling new exhibition direct from the National Portrait Gallery. Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things explores the extravagant world of the glamorous and stylish ‘Bright Young Things’ of the twenties and thirties through the lens of the renowned British photographer. The exhibition in Sheffield is a remarkable opportunity to see these works together after the pandemic sadly brought the original run in London to a close after just one week. The gallery will also debut a new exhibition curated in partnership with Koestler Arts and the Sheffield Youth Justice Service; My Path will bring together artworks created by people in the criminal justice system across Yorkshire and celebrates the role of creativity in the rehabilitative journey.


Also reopening its doors on Thursday 20 May, Weston Park Museum will offer visitors the first chance to see the latest addition to the museum’s displays, a four-metre-long skeleton of a pilot whale. The skeleton was carefully reassembled by Sheffield biology lecturer, Dave Clay during the first lockdown and has been suspended from the ceiling at the entrance to the museum’s What on Earth! gallery. The popular exhibition The Sheffield Project: Photographs of a Changing City, which opened just before the last lockdown came into effect, also makes a welcome return, reflecting on a monumental period of change for the city and its people during the 1980s and 90s. The exhibition is complemented by the recently completed Sheffield Stories gallery, looking at life in the city during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, as well as a host of much-missed museum favourites, including Spike the woolly rhino, Snowy the polar bear, and more.


A unique window into life at an 18th century steelworks, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet will reopen on Saturday 29 May, with plans in the pipeline for a series of belated birthday celebrations for the museum, which turned 50 last year. Sheffield Museums will be announcing more details on the upcoming events and anniversary activities in the coming weeks.


Finally, on Saturday 1 June Shepherd Wheel will welcome visitors for the first time since March last year. The Grade II listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument in the Porter Valley’s Whiteley Woods offer a rare chance to see a 16th century waterwheel in action and explore the cutlery grinding workshop that it powered.


The Graves Gallery currently remains closed as work continues on a programme of refurbishment and redisplay supported by generous funding from the Ampersand Foundation. The gallery and its new displays are set to open in the summer.


After months of closure, Sheffield Museums continues to be hugely affected by the pandemic. Over the past 14 months the city’s museums and galleries have seen a huge loss of income that would normally be raised through its shops, cafes, corporate hire, and the generous donations of visitors. The museums were able to navigate the impact of the pandemic thanks to generous funding through the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and continued support from both Sheffield City Council and Arts Council England. The return of visitors will play a critical role in enabling the charity to lay firm foundations for its future.


Kim Streets, Chief Executive of Sheffield Museums, said:

“Our team are really looking forward to welcoming visitors back – and we have a great programme lined up for them. The city’s museums and the collections they house belong to the people of Sheffield, so we’re delighted that free entry at all sites will make them available to everyone. Being open and free is only possible thanks to the incredible generosity of our visitors, so if you’re able, please donate, it makes a huge difference.”


To avoid disappointment, visitors are encouraged to pre-book their free visit to the museums. Pre-booking and reduced numbers are part of a range comprehensive safety measure in place, which also include enhanced cleaning, hand sanitiser stations and changes to some sites’ air handling system to continuously bring in fresh air. Visitors can plan and book their visit online at


Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet

Abbeydale Road South, Sheffield, S7 2QW. Tel: 0114 272 2106

Open Saturdays & Sundays during term time (Sat 10am-5pm / Sun 11am-5pm)

Open Thursday-Sunday during school holidays (Thu-Sat 10am-5pm / Sun 11am-5pm)


Graves Gallery

Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 1XZ. Tel: 0114 278 2600

Closed for refurbishment and redisplay, reopening summer 2021


Kelham Island Museum

Alma Street, Sheffield, S3 8RY. Tel: 0114 272 2106

Open Tuesday-Friday & Sundays during term time (Tue-Fri 10am-5pm / Sun 11am-5pm)

Open Sunday-Friday during school holidays (Mon-Fri 10am-5pm / Sun 11am-5pm)

Kelham Island Museum will also open on Saturdays from autumn 2021


Millennium Gallery

Arundel Gate, Sheffield, S1 2PP.  Tel: 0114 278 2600

Open Tuesday-Sunday during term time (Tue-Sat 10am-5pm / Sun 11am-5pm)

Open Monday-Sunday during school holidays (Mon-Sat 10am-5pm / Sun 11am-5pm)

(Photograph by Adrian Richardson)


Shepherd Wheel

Whiteley Woods, Off Hangingwater Road, Sheffield, S11 2YE. Tel: 0114 272 2106

Open Saturdays, Sundays & Bank Holidays (Apr-Oct, 10am-4pm / Nov-Mar, 11am-3pm)


Weston Park Museum

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TP. Tel: 0114 278 2600

Open Tuesday-Sunday during term time (Tue-Sat 10am-5pm / Sun 11am-5pm)

Open Monday-Sunday during school holidays (Mon-Sat 10am-5pm / Sun 11am-5pm)  /


Twitter: @SheffMuseums          

Facebook: @SheffieldMuseums

Instagram: @sheffmuseums


(Top Banner photograph by Adrian Richardson)

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