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The Millennium Galleries

The Millennium Galleries, a sensational national showcase for the visual arts, craft and design, is set to position Sheffield as the cultural capital of the North.

Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust (SGMT) have built several partnerships with leading arts organisations including the internationally renowned Victoria & Albert Museum who have signed a unique long term agreement to bring exhibitions to the city from their magnificent collections. The V&A partnership means that many national treasures normally only seen in the capital will go on show in Sheffield, reinforcing the V&A 's commitment to sharing cultural resources and improving access to its collections in the regions.

The Galleries present some of the most advanced exhibition handling facilities in the country. It is being judged by experts as the highest quality exhibition space outside London. One of the most innovative features is the 'Avenue'; an internal street which has natural light flooding in through the vaulted roof of translucent glass blocks.

The building contains four separate climate controlled galleries: the Special Exhibition Gallery, the Ruskin Gallery, the Metalwork Gallery and the Craft and Design Gallery. They will present major touring exhibitions alongside displays from the city's own internationally renowned collections.

the Special Exhibition Gallery

The Special Exhibitions Gallery is a vast 800 square metre space fitted with a flexible display system which is able to offer an appropriate environment from small intimate displays to blockbuster national and international exhibitions. The Special Exhibition Gallery will play host to a series of major exhibitions including a number of special touring exhibitions from the V&A and the Tate.

the Ruskin Gallery

The Ruskin Gallery is home to the internationally important Guild of St George Collection which contains paintings, drawings, photographs, books and minerals and was brought together by John Ruskin a renowned Victorian writer, artist and critic. In 1875 he established a small museum in Sheffield so that the 'working man' would be able to enjoy and benefit from seeing this wide-ranging collection.

A colossal glass sculpture is the focal point of the Ruskin Gallery. The specially commissioned sculpture,'Nature Water' fitting a whole window and measuring 14.5m long and 4m in height, is by renowned Japanese glass artist Keiko Mukaide. It is inspired by the Ruskin collection and represents the natural cycle of water from rain or snow to the earth and back to clouds. Made up of six waved 'sea' parts and seven clouds it is designed to be looked through and touched and can be seen both inside and outside the Ruskin Gallery.

the Metalwork Gallery

The Metalwork Gallery is a glittering showcase for Sheffield's internationality important collection of decorative metalwork and cutlery, which was awarded Designation status by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2000. The gallery reveals the stunning collection through exciting display techniques and superb interactive exhibits. Visitors will be able to trace the story of Sheffield's rich history as a producer of the world's finest metalwork and discover why the city became the global centre for the manufacture of cutlery, flatware and hollowware, such as coffee pots, candlesticks and trays.

Over 1000 items, drawn from the impressive collection of more than 8000 pieces, will be on display. Highlights will include a rare Old Sheffield Plate table, an outstanding display of folding knives, a unique gold cup from 1929 and the sterling silver Millennium Punch Bowl, specially commissioned by the Sheffield Assay Office to celebrate the new millennium.

Other significant pieces have been loaned by the Victoria & Albert Museum, Sheffield Assay Office, The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire in the County of York, the Ken Hawtey Trust Collection and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

the Craft and Design Gallery

This gallery will offer a regional, national and occasionally international venue for exhibitions of craft and design. The exhibitions will demonstrate the importance of excellent craftsmanship and design in all aspects of our Lives. A changing exhibition programme will centre on craft and design produced by contemporary makers and explore innovative design from the past.