By: James Peters
Since re-opening in 2006, Weston Park Museum has surpassed all visitor targets and now welcomes almost 300,000 visitors each year. As well as the permanent galleries which tell the story of Sheffield from pre-history to the present day, a temporary exhibition space welcomes shows from partners such as the British Museum and the V&A Museum of Childhood.
Eric Hildrew (Communications Manager at Weston Park) told us a bit more information about the museum.
The museum is aimed at a broad audience; families, local residents, visitors to the city, and students. It helps provide a sense of pride and place for Sheffield, telling the story of the city and what makes it unique. In the past when we’ve done research with students we’ve been surprised by some of the things they say they like about the museum – using the dressing up boxes comes up a lot!
He continued to explain that Sheffield City Council is the largest funder for the museum, who own the building. The staff at Weston Park manage the museum on the council’s behalf as an independent charity. Through fundraising the museum raises £2 for every £1 they receive from the council which is why we can look around for free!
We don’t see free admission as a luxury we can ‘afford’ – it’s fundamental to our mission to serve the city.
Weston Park Museum strongly stresses that the collections in the museum belong to the people of Sheffield and don;t believe they should pay up front to see them. However, Eric explained that without donations they are unable to keep the museum running.
I would, of course, say that any student arriving in Sheffield should take the time to explore the city’s museums and galleries – we deal in the real thing, and there’s no online substitute for that.
Weston Park Museum is open everyday (Monday-Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 11am–4pm) and is free entry!