Museums Sheffield receives lifeline grant from Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

Museums Sheffield has been awarded £500,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Museums Sheffield is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

The £500,000 funding will support a range of initiatives to strengthen the sustainability and resilience of Museums Sheffield and the new trust. These include a major review of the schools programme to allow the museums to adapt to the current needs of the hundreds of schools who usually visit each year, as well as the development of a website for the new trust which will offer meaningful opportunities to enjoy the museums and the collections they care for online. The grant will also resource the additional on-going costs of recent changes to the museums’ air handing systems, which control the conditions the artwork and objects are kept in whilst on display; these were updated over the summer to bring full fresh air into buildings to help keep visitors and staff safe.

Kim Streets, Chief Executive of Museums Sheffield, said: “The impact of the pandemic on Museums Sheffield over the past seven months has been huge and we’re extremely grateful for this vital support from the Culture Recovery Fund. Five months of closure had a devastating effect on our ability to generate income. Since reopening, our staff team have continued to do incredible work keeping our venues COVID-secure whilst still offering the warmest of welcomes and a first-class experience. While visitor numbers are growing, as anticipated many people understandably just aren’t ready to return yet. Cost-saving measures like Monday closing go some way to helping navigate that, but this support from Culture Recovery Fund will enable us to face some of our biggest immediate challenges, secure the longer term sustainability of the organisation and lay firm foundations for the new trust.”

Weston Park Museum and the Millennium Gallery reopened in August with a range of measures in place to keep everyone safe whilst enjoying a warm welcome and a great visit. These include the introduction of free pre-booked visits alongside capacity for walk-up entry, hand sanitiser available throughout the museums, enhanced cleaning throughout the day, one-way routes in some areas, and more.

At the Millennium Gallery visitors can currently enjoy the acclaimed exhibition Lines of Beauty: Master Drawings from Chatsworth, which showcases over 50 world-class works from the Devonshire Collection. Later this month Weston Park Museum will debut The Sheffield Project: Photographs of a Changing City, chronicling the huge transformation of the city in the late 1980s and early 90s. Museums Sheffield are in the process of reintroducing their popular events programme, including new socially-distanced life drawing sessions, half term activities, online tours  and more. Plans for the Graves Gallery to reopen are also underway.

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