Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust and Museums Sheffield are set to merge in April this year, creating one of the largest groups of museum sites in the country, Sheffield Museums Trust.
In a Cabinet meeting tomorrow, the groups hope to get formal endorsement for the creation of the trust which intends to extend free admission across all sites as soon as possible.
Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust has historically charged admissions fees. It currently costs between £5-6 to visit Kelham Island Museum and between £3-4 to visit Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet. This merger will make learning about Sheffield’s industrial history as the ‘Steel City’ accessible to everyone and could save families large amounts of money.
The trust will come into effect from 1 April, 2021, and an interim Board of Trustees is in place, led by Chair Neil MacDonald
He said: “In light of the significant impact Covid-19 has had on cultural organisations across the country, this is more important now than ever. In joining together, we’ll be able to provide the best possible experience for our visitors, as well as be able to make the most compelling case to our funders and supporters.”
The collaboration will see Museum Sheffield’s three sites – Millennium Gallery, Weston Park Museum and Groves Gallery – join forces with Sheffield Industrial Museum Trust’s three sites – Kelham Island Museum, Abbeydale Indsutrial Hamlet and Shepherd Wheel.
Both trusts have been in discussion since 2017 and want to end the artificial distinction between Sheffield’s industrial and non-industrial collections.
Chris Harvey, Head of Communications at Museums Sheffield, said: “The coming together of the two trusts and the collections they care for is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the city’s museums. We’re really looking forward to celebrating Sheffield’s remarkable heritage and telling its amazing story together.”
The formation of the new trust has been welcomed by Sheffield City Council, which currently funds both organisations, along with Arts Council England.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet member for Culture, Parks and Leisure, said: “We warmly support the creation of the new united museums Trust for the city, which brings together this whole sweep of industry, society and the arts, to preserve and interpret the past and to inspire and inform the future.”