A partnership between the V&A and Museums Sheffield was formed in 1999 to develop the new Millennium Galleries in Sheffield, enable the V&A to open its collections to new audiences and establish Sheffield as a flagship exhibition venue in Yorkshire. In January 2010 the partnership was renewed for a further five years under a memorandum of understanding.
The collaboration has allowed the V&A to be part of the regeneration of the city and the ongoing debate of the place of culture in city life and, as an organisation, to reach more people outside London.
- The Millennium Galleries have provided a UK venue for major V&A exhibitions. The Seven Treasures: Japanese Enamels from the V&A and Recording Britain will both feature in 2013, accompanied by curator talks.
- Exhibitions developed by Museums Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University: Food Glorious Food and Sports Lab (renamed Beautiful Games) have been shown at the V&A Museum of Childhood, and 112,500 visitors saw the Museum of Childhood’s exhibition Magic Worlds at Weston Park Museum, Sheffield.
- An annual series of talks by V&A curators have covered historic and contemporary silver chalices and the designer Godfrey Sykes. In 2012/13, in conjunction with the exhibition Force of Nature: Picturing Ruskin’s Landscape, the theme is landscape - in photographs, painting and as inspiration for textiles. The first lecture, on British landscape photography, was given by Martin Barnes on 17 January. Mark Evans will discuss the drive to elevate the status of landscape painting as an art form in late 19th century Britain on 21 March.
The benefits are not all public facing. We learn from each other.
- Curators explore and share knowledge on respective collections, especially in the field of metalwork and silverware for which Sheffield has an international reputation.
- Information and expertise is exchanged in areas as wide as management and marketing to technical operations, advocacy and digital reach. A close understanding of how two different organsations operate is invaluable.