Museums are magical places - and in Sheffield we have so many, with a mountain of fascinating objects at our fingertips

One of my earliest memories is finding wobbly teeth in a giant mouth at the Eureka! children’s museum in West Yorkshire.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 6:00 am
Jim Wade, cricket bat maker, pictured at work at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, Sheffield, June 15, 1974

Then there were the school trips dressed as Victorians, the giggling teenage trips to museums in Amsterdam and a genuinely terrifying solo visit to a morbid medical museum that houses a mummified corpse of a criminal in Bangkok.

Museums are magical places, they bring learning to life, and the things you learn there stick for good.

In Sheffield, we are lucky to have so many museums with a mountain of fascinating objects at our fingertips.

There is something for all ages and what is especially wonderful is how many of the collections have been put together thanks to the generosity of city families.

After many months of lockdown, those museums are finally set to reopen to the public once again in the coming weeks.

And what a treat they have in store for us. From old favourites such as the River Don Engine at Kelham Island Museum, to the new pilot whale skeleton that will hang at Weston Park Museum, there will be so much to explore.

Two of the museums that fall under the new Sheffield Museums organisation will also now be free to all visitors, in what is thought to be a first. It means that, together with the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and Shepherd Wheel, they will all be free to visit in the future. See pages 6 and 7 for the full details.

The National Emergency Services Museum at West Bar is also reopening in May, and will be showcasing the unique personal archive of the detective who led the hunt for Jack the Ripper.

Staff there tell us it is ‘almost like a new museum’, and reveal their hard work behind the scenes on pages 60 and 61.

Hopefully all of Sheffield’s museums will see a boom in visitors over the next few weeks, spreading the magic anew. Let’s support them however we can.