Donations to Sheffield’s museums soar

Museums Sheffield Curatorial Manager Sian Brown  installing the Leonard Beaumont works for The Power of Print exhibition  at the Graves Gallery
Museums Sheffield Curatorial Manager Sian Brown installing the Leonard Beaumont works for The Power of Print exhibition at the Graves Gallery
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Public donations in support of Sheffield’s museums have almost trebled in three years - as the venues have been hit by budget cuts.

Museums Sheffield, the trust responsible for the Graves Gallery, Millennium Gallery and Weston Park Museum, revealed on-site donations in 2009/10 were £15,462.

But that figure soared to £57,583 in 2012/13.

Kim Streets, chief executive, said current exhibitions at the three venues have been ‘very successful’, receiving a total of 90,000 visits since each was launched.

Some 53,553 visits have been made to the Force of Nature exhibition at the Millennium Gallery since it opened in December 2012.

Meanwhile, 25,593 people have viewed the Designed to Shine exhibition at the same venue, which celebrates the centenary of stainless steel, in two months since it launched in February.

And, despite its limited opening hours, 11,826 people visited the Graves Gallery to view The Power of Print: Leonard Beaumont, a collection of lino cut prints and etchings.

Museums Sheffield is aiming to boost commercial activity to help raise funds, such as by holding weddings.

Some 21 ceremonies have been booked so far in 2013, with some having already taken place.

Staffing is being increased from 72 to 80 - with a focus on improving the trust’s shops to help bring in more income.

Ms Streets said: “We are really grateful for the generosity of the public which is a great help.

“We also have a new emphasis on retail and income generation to help cover costs.

“Like all public organisations, we are being hit by a reduction in funding.”

Sheffield Council is making a further 10 per cent cut to Museums Sheffield’s £2 million annual council grant in the current 2013/14 financial year.

But Ms Streets said: “We are managing to work within our budget.”

She said the trust is continuing to negotiate with the council about repayment of a £650,000 loan.

Museums Sheffield has also been helped with the approval of a bid for Arts Council fundingof £1.4 million to last the next two years, until 2015 – after a previous, larger application for £4.2m was refused.