Millennium Galleries’ urgent repairs for Leonardo da Vinci exhibition

Sheffield’s Millennium Galleries was given funding for urgent repairs ahead of its major Leonardo da Vinci exhibition.

By Lucy Ashton
Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 10:32 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 6:08 pm
Kirsty Hamilton, the head of programme at Museums Sheffield, with a Leonardo da Vinci drawing. Picture: Chris Etchells

The museum needed to act quickly and install new glazing because it was concerned building work near its entrance could be a security risk when it hosted the artworks, some of which dated back to the early 1500s.

The 12 drawings were part of a nationwide tour marking the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death.

Sheffield Council says the work created cash flow problems for Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust and it has reimbursed the cost.

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In a report, council officers say: “Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust were required to undertake urgent facade and glazing works in order to enable the Leonard Da Vinci exhibition to proceed at the Millennium Galleries in February.

“It had no specific budgetary provision for these works and it has created a cash flow issue for the trust. In order to mitigate these pressures Sheffield Council has agreed to make a capital grant of £57,000 to reimburse the cost of these works.”

Chris Harvey, from Museums Sheffield, said the work was for the Millennium Gallery cafe’s windows and doors.

“Museums Sheffield has a lifecycle repair agreement for the Millennium Gallery with the council, who are the owners of the building,” he said.

“After almost 20 years, the multiple glazed doors which make up the facade of the cafe were in need of replacement.

“As per our agreement, we submitted a bid for repairs to the council, who approved the expenditure and reimbursed Museums Sheffield for the costs once the work had taken place.

“The urgency was due to the imminent opening of both the Leonardo exhibition and of Ambulo, the new Millennium Gallery cafe.

“During the Leonardo exhibition run we needed ensure there wasn’t any significant maintenance work to the building’s entrances taking place, which would have presented an unnecessary security risk with unusually high value artworks on site.

“In terms of Ambulo, which opened at the same time as the exhibition, we were keen to avoid disappointing visitors by opening the new café only to have to close it again for repairs shortly after.”