Sheffield’s cultural venues: What’s reopening and when?

Summer may be reaching its close, but don’t fret – there are still plenty of ways to safely make the most of Sheffield in the run-up to Autumn, including the re-opening of prized venues, cultural events going ahead, online activities to seek out and plenty more to enjoy. In support of the Make Yourself at Home campaign, we’ve highlighted some positive updates that have us all excited about the upcoming months…

Welcome Back: What’s reopening and when?
Weston Park Museum & Millennium Gallery
In a major boost for the city’s culture vultures, Museums Sheffield reopened two of their much-loved venues last month, welcoming back visitors for the first time in over five months with a host of new safety measures.

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.

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 have been developed in partnership with residents in the South East of the city and bring together fashion, photographs, toys, 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.

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.

The National Videogame Museum
The NVM, our national cultural centre for videogaming, are back in operation following a successful trial weekend last month. Alongside new safety procedures, pre-booking is now essential for visits, with two time slots of 10:30am-1pm and 2:30pm-5pm available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you’re unable to make a physical visit to the museum, there are a range of free online activities on the website ( ranging from guides on creating pixel art to creating your own interactive stories online.
Tickets available online at

Showroom Cinema
The city’s best-known independent cinema has marked Friday 18 September as their reopening date, having spent the last couple of months ensuring they can offer a safe environment for film-lovers to enjoy. Head to for the latest updates. If you’re unable to make the cinema in person, by becoming a Showroom member you can get free six months access to the online BFI Player and a three-month MUBI subscription – plus a whole host of ticket discounts and food and drink offers for when you do decide to return to the cinema.

Kelham Island Museum
The popular industrial museum is back open to the public and welcoming visitors after almost five months of closure. New measures have been put in place to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and visitors and to keep the museum a COVID secure space. The museum has also received Visit Britain’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ certification, recognising it as a COVID-19 secure attraction. The River Don Engine can be viewed but will not be ‘in steam’ and the Melting Shop soft play area will stay closed. Throughout September, visitors can visit the museum 6 days a week during reduced opening hours of 11am-3pm Monday to Thursday and 11am-4pm at weekends. The museum is closed Fridays. Adult admission has been reduced to £5 for adults and children (age 0-16) remain free of charge. The onsite Island Café+Bar and Millowners Arms traditional pub are both open daily, offering a range of food and drink and a huge outdoor socially distanced beer garden with table service.

National Emergency Services Museum
The iconic West Bar museum (which recently celebrated its 120th birthday) will be reopening its doors on 9th September. There’s a revamped main display room and a new exhibition telling the story of the Fire Service from the 18th century to the 1920s. Book tickets and find out about all upcoming events at

Fancy getting stuck in? Here are some key events to stick in the calendar…

Off The Shelf
Taking place online and onstage, this year’s festival of words returns 9-31 October with some of the biggest names in literature and the arts. In light of the recent global pandemic and countrywide lockdown, books and reading have become more important than ever before and the team at OTS have been working hard to provide another thought-provoking programme. Guests this year include Simon Armitage, Lemn Sissay, Helen Mort, David Olusoga, Lee Child, Kit de Waal, Luke Jennings, Stuart Maconie, Susie Dent, Jonathan Porritt, Laura Wade, Nazir Afzal, Dan Walker, Sam West, Luke Harding, Candice Brathwaite, and more. Tickets will be available online at from 14th September, where you’ll also find a full programme of events.

Festival of the Mind
Get the synapses firing with this year’s Festival of the Mind taking place 17-27 September – a prestigious occasions celebrating a coming together of academics and creatives from across the city in a unique collaboration of workshops and talks.
Events will be announced at

Heritage Open Days
With a number of events taking place between 11-20 September, this year’s Heritage Open Days will feature a mix of in-person and virtual experiences to keep all entertained. Each one free to attend as always. There’s a wide range of events taking place all across the city, featuring everything from historic river walks to online tours of famous cutlery works in the city. Head to for a full list of activities taking place.

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