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  • Caitlin Yates

Donkeys, Dutch Masters and Dance: What’s On this Summer at Sheffield’s Museums

Summer is here and with it comes a whole host of exhibitions and events across Sheffield’s museums and galleries. It can be hard to know what’s worth checking out so here’s our guide of what to check out when and where this summer.

Donkey Nonsense - Millennium Gallery

James Green, Happenings in Donkey World No.9 © the artist

James Green - a Sheffield-based artist - certainly hasn’t shied away from this love of donkeys over the last 15 years. With his biggest exhibition to date, Green shares over 50 pieces of donkey-themed artwork, from prints to ceramics and textiles. Running until October 8th, this exhibition is full of vibrant colour and whimsiness that will draw you into Green’s world and his love for these gentle creatures.

And if simply wandering around an exhibition isn’t enough, why not take part in Donkey Adventures and create your own James Green inspired print? This event is free for all and takes place on August 22nd, find out more here.

City of Sheffield Lifeboat - National Emergency Services Museum

When I think about Sheffield, the beach is not something that comes to mind. But despite the lack of sea in this magnificent city, we have our very own lifeboat! Named the City of Sheffield in 1989, this RNLI lifeboat has been a part of the National Emergency Services Museum since 2017. Every Friday until September 1st, the lifeboat will be open to the public offering a chance to explore the cabin, learn more about the RNLI, and even conduct a rescue!

But that’s not the only thing going on at the National Emergency Services Museum this summer. Crowned the UK’s Best Family Friendly Museum in 2022, there is tons to do at the museum for all the family. From celebrating 75 years of the NHS and opportunities to create your own air ambulance, to the more grown-up ‘Excavating the Dead’ workshop, there is something here for everyone. You can check out the full schedule of events here.

Threads of Unity - Millennium Gallery

August is South Asian Heritage month and the Sunrit Culture Group are helping us celebrate in style. Meaning “a beautiful dance”, this collaboration with the Millennium Gallery bring us Threads of Unity - a celebration of dance and culture from eight South Asian countries. Whether you’re a dance fan or interested in learning more about Sheffield’s diverse culture, join the event on August 5th at the Millennium Gallery (booking recommended, get your tickets here).

Hair: Untold Stories - Weston Park Museum

The Right to Opacity, Black Series, 2020 © Kedisha Coakley

Putting substance before style, this exhibition takes us away from the superficial and explores the complex relationship we have with our hair. From salons and the styling of our hair, to the use of hair as material, the exhibition highlights how hair is not just a personal thing but plays an important part throughout society and our relationships within.

Once again this exhibition is free and is on display until October 29th - so there’s no excuse to miss it!

Dutch Flower Paintings - Millennium Gallery and Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase on a Ledge with Flowers, Shells & a Butterfly 1609-10 © The National Gallery

On to something a little more ‘grown up’ - Dutch Flower Paintings! Whilst on paper this may not sound spectacular, this is an exhibition not to be missed. For the first time in Sheffield, these 17th and 18th century masters - lent to the Millennium Gallery from the National Gallery - will go on display alongside more contemporary work, including a brand new commission by Sheffield-based artist Kedisha Coakley. These timeless pieces are bold and beautiful, a true masterclass in art.

But Dutch Flowers are not only restricted to paintings. Sheffield Botanical Gardens are teaming up with Millennium Gallery for a tour of their gardens. On August 9th, explore the flowers that inspired the artists with a free tour at the Botanical Gardens (booking is required, get your tickets here).

If none of this takes your fancy, don’t worry - there’s plenty going on this summer. You can check out the full schedule of exhibitions and events on the Sheffield Museums website.


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