The Pop-Up Ruskin Museum displayed the history of the activities of John Ruskin's Guild of St George in the late 19th Century in Sheffield. It also displayed objects of interest and local history brought in by visitors. Visitors were invited to draw, make, sew and write, to engage with arts, crafts and nature - the themes of the Ruskin Collection housed at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield. This Pop-Up hub hosted local arts and heritage exhibitions and events led by local community members, attracting 3,000 adults and children.
Self-guided trail leaflet, exhibition and guided walk (27 June)
Local historians researched the lives of local Victorian adult and children visitors to St George's Museum in Walkley. They created a trail leaflet highlighting where some of the visitors had lived, and about their lives.
A programme of walks, talks and events created to rediscover the legacy of John Ruskin in Sheffield. Over 7,000 audiences and participants attended, took part in or helped create these events. A temporary display about Ruskin and Walkley was visited by another 15,000 people at the Ruskin Collection.
ST GEORGE'S MUSEUM PLAQUE at Ruskin House
& HENRY SWAN MEMORIAL at Walkley Cemetery
Sheffield master designer and stone-carver Richard Watts created a plaque to mark the former site of St George's Museum at Ruskin House on Bole Hill Road, and a memorial for the curator of the museum, Henry Swan, at his grave in Walkley Cemetery.
Clive Wilmer, Master of the Guild of St George, gave speeches at both sites, attended by the local community, on 27 June. You can download the speeches here.
Sheffield performance company Cabaret Boom Boom researched the history of the Ruskin Collection at Walkley to create a performance celebrating the lives of the curators and working visitors to St George's Museum, including knife-grinders, cutters, sculptors and children.
WALKLEY FESTIVAL 20 June - 5 July
Ruskin in Sheffield inspired community activities including the creation of Mr Ruskin's Brown Bread, a Ruskin Beard competition, a well-dressing, and a Japanese event making connections between poet Kenji Miyazawa and John Ruskin.
RUSKIN HERITAGE TALKS (watch the talks)
Ruskin and Walkley
Dr Marcus Waithe gave a talk at Walkley Community Centre on 13 February about Ruskin and Walkley, focussing on the story of St George's Museum.
Ruskin, Totley & St George's Farm
Dr Mark Frost and Sally Goldsmith gave a talk at Totley Library on 20 May about the history and legacy of Ruskin's utopian communal land project at St George's Farm in Totley.
Curator and Curatress: The Swans at St George's Museum
Dr Mark Frost gave a talk at Walkley Community Centre on 22 May about the the role of Henry and Emily Swan as curators of St George's Museum.
RUSKIN in the RIVELIN VALLEY
We worked with Chris Baines and Rivelin Valley Conservation Group to create videos and new interpretation about the artistic, natural and industrial history of the Rivelin Valley. The new interpretation was inspired by Chris's collection of paintings by artists who were painting the Rivelin Valley between WWI and WWII. The paintings were displayed in the Pop-Up Ruskin Museum. You can see the new interpretation on the RVCG website here. We helped create three new interpretation posts at three of the former wheel, forge or dam sites. All 20 sites now have these posts, with QR codes pointing people to further information.
Chris led a Dawn Chorus bird walk on 3 May, and on 18 July, he took part in a Ruskin Ramble from Walkley to Stannington via the Rivelin Valley led by local historians.
On 20 June, Fay Musselwhite led a poetry walk, Contra Flow, and we hosted an 'Artists Colony for a Day' where people could join professional artists to draw the valley.
Sheffield poet and performer Sally Goldsmith worked with Totley History Group to create a walking performance to celebrate the connections between Edward Carpenter, Burt Ward, farmer George Pearson, stainless steel pioneer Harry Brearley, and Ruskin's utopian communal land project at St George's Farm in Totley.
Boots, Fresh Air and Ginger Beer, Totley, 13 & 14 June
Desperately Seeking Ruskin, Walkley, 27 September
RUSKIN in STANNINGTON
We worked with Freeman College, part of the Ruskin Mill Trust, to open up Freeman Biodynamic Garden to the public on its first open day (18 July), which featured a talk on Ruskin, Land and Livelihoods, seasonal land tasks, creative activities and site tours. Prior to the open day, we worked with local schools and community groups to learn how to make copper and wooden trowels, take part in seasonal and creative workshops, and help make food at the outdoor oven.
RUSKIN at the MILLENNIUM GALLERY
Ruskin Reviewed 31 October - 8 November
A final celebration of the Ruskin in Sheffield community events.
Redisplays of the Collection included work created or discovered through the community events, and new artworks by Polytechnic artists.
In 2015, we collaborated with the University of Sheffield on four projects:
An MA in Public Humanities group researched and publicly presented on the changing role of the Ruskin Collection in its different locations around Sheffield.
A group of MA in Architecture students created a series of city centre Wealthy Walks, inspired by Ruskin's belief in the importance of seeing clearly, and connecting arts, architecture and nature in cities.
A group of architecture students did a field trip to Venice, with a guided tour by the Master of the Guild of St George.
A public panel discussion, Wealthy Cities: Re-Thinking Sheffield's Parks and Public Spaces, on 19 May at the Millennium Gallery.
RUSKIN in SHEFFIELD and the UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
You can download reviews, articles and speeches in the Guild's publication, The Companion, here.