Leading Museums Sheffield forward

  • Vicky Higginson, Shodo (large) © Vicky Higginson
  • The Red Corvid, Crow Notebook © The Red Corvid
  • Sarah Waterhouse, Hand Printed table runner and napkins © Sarah Waterhouse
  • Rhea Clements, Knitted Clutch - Spots © Rhea Clements
  • Natty Maid, stag apron

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‘When I was a kid growing up in Selby I took my little sister on a day trip to York and we ‘did’ the museums. The two things I remember are getting lost and the dungeons at York Castle Museum. Dick Turpin’s cell frightened me to death but the museum had me hooked and showed me that there was more to my world. Museums opened my eyes and helped me to imagine a future of possibilities. In taking up the role of Chief Executive at Museums Sheffield, I want to make sure that the city’s museums and galleries continue to provide access to a wealth of knowledge and be a source inspiration for the people of the city.

I came to Sheffield in 1986, to study History at the Poly’ and like thousands of others I loved the city, made lots of friends and decided to stay. I was lucky enough to get work researching the history of the Globe Works and through that secured voluntary work at Kelham Island Museum.  In 1991 I got my dream job as Curator of Social History with Sheffield’s museums and gallery service, then run by the Council.  During those years I worked with many people in Sheffield to tell their stories through the things that were precious to them.

After 21 years working within the museums service, which became an independent Trust in 1998, I became CEO this week.  When I joined we had no money, a small team and the prospect of year on year cuts – we are in a similar position today but then, as now, we managed to do great things with the resources we had.  At that time it was hard to imagine a future where Weston Park museum would be redeveloped and we would play host to shows like Vivienne Westwood and Tate Sculpture. What we had back then was a commitment from staff to make our museums the best they could be; we had a vision and together with the City we made it happen.  We have come a long way and we want to build on that passion, creativity and knowledge to deliver an excellent, value for money service.


                                      Young visitors enjoy the newly re-displayed Treasures gallery at Weston Park museum, made possible
                                      thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding.

Sheffield deserves the very best museum service – we should all be inspired by what we do; by the city, its people and their collections.  Our culture is part and parcel of the city: it shapes our sense of identity and purpose, inspires creativity and innovation and improves our quality of life.

I want Museums Sheffield to be a resilient service that makes a great contribution to the cultural life of the city.  Financial resilience is important and we need to work very closely with Sheffield City Council over the coming months to arrive at a viable funding agreement for the next few years.  I’m under no illusion about the financial challenges facing the Council but we need to work together to achieve the very best museum service for Sheffield. We must strengthen our foundations and develop our partnerships with colleagues in our sector, the city’s Universities, and the business community.  We will consolidate the position of Sheffield’s museums and galleries as vital assets in a culturally vibrant, forward-looking city.

We have an opportunity now for change; to find new ways of thinking and to recover our sense of purpose.  Knowing what we have done and can do makes me feel proud and excited about the future’. 

Apr 19 2012

Comments

  1. Written by Moya Sketchley about 2 years, 6 months ago

    Congratulations Kim! You sound great,best of luck in your new job x

  2. Written by Simon Seligman about 2 years, 6 months ago

    Many congratulations on your appointment Kim, and the very best of luck with your huge task. Sheffield Museums deserves to flourish, and I am sure you will lead a resilient response to the recent difficulties. I think everyone in Sheffield is incredibly lucky to have all the access and insight that MS offers, and it is depressing that we have to fight the culture corner, even in depressing times. Museums, galleries, exhibitions and associated events can and should be the stuff of life, inspiring and educating us, and reflecting our many histories back to us in unique and original ways, and you and your team, who must be feeling pretty battle-scarred right now, deserve all our support as you lead this next chapter in the story.

    Good luck!

    Simon

  3. Written by Dave Atkin about 2 years, 6 months ago

    While I welcome the statement above, the tone of the interview on Radio Sheffield this morning was somewhat different and I am sure that Arts Council England feel that the protests from the people of Sheffield regarding the massive injustice of their devastating and just plain wrong decision over "Major Partner" Museum funding has now been put down. Once again Sheffield becomes Leeds doormat.
    Other than that we can do nothing else than congratulate the new CEO and accept the realism Kim mentioned this morning - whatever financial restrictions bring in the way of fewer if any future major exhibitions, the damage to our cultural offering,footfall from inside and outside the City, image of Sheffield Worldwide or come to that simple civic pride.

  4. Written by Ron Clayton about 2 years, 6 months ago

    Kim

    There's nobody better for the job or to build on Nick Dodd's achievements. I wish I had put put money on my hunch nay hopes.Many of us in Sheffield know how much you have worked out of your role especially as regards Sheffield Castle artifacts. You've handled pressures and awkward questions with honesty and professionalism. You are a Sheffielder and know what MS and particulary Weston Park means to us.

    Cheers

    Big Ron

  5. Written by Carly Watts about 2 years, 6 months ago

    Well done, I am really keen to work in the Sheffield Museum or Art Gallery, I am a freelance artist and love visiting the Winter Gardens, I would love to meet with you and discuss the future of the galleries with you.

  6. Written by laurence obodo about 2 years, 5 months ago

    I hope they manage to keep the gallery's open. For Sheffield with an interest in art for people in general it is nice to have our galleries on the doorstep.

  7. Written by Caroline Pudner/nee Peters about 2 years, 5 months ago

    So great to hear about your appointment. You have done so much already for Sheffield people and always earned respect for your principles and commitment (being a lovely person, an' all!) Best of luck to you, your old colleague Caroline x

  8. Written by JennieVickers about 2 years, 5 months ago

    Congratulations Kim! I have a vague memory of you mentioning an aspiration to be chief exec many moons ago...I love people that stick to their word, and cannot think of anyone more dedicated, more passionate or more deserving to take on the role.

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