Perks of Volunteering
A ‘perk’ of being a volunteer at 84 Plymouth Grove is the programme of development activities organised by the House.
This summer there was a major exhibition about John Ruskin, starting in London and then at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield. A group of volunteers visited the latter venue to develop our appreciation of Ruskin and his legacy, in the light of the exhibition currently on at Elizabeth Gaskell’s house.
Sheffield has a special place in Ruskin’s legacy due to the existence there of the Ruskin Collection, originally housed in the St. George’s Museum at Walkley in the city, but now housed in the Millennium Museum in the city centre. The collection is in fact owned by the Guild of St. George, which Ruskin founded in 1871 to promote his beliefs and operates today as an educational charity with headquarters in London.
This was a big display of treasures from the collection – artworks, photographs, books, coins and casts of natural history specimens. One big surprise, even for those of us who knew of the interest of the great man in geology, was the stupendous collection of minerals on display.
So … an interesting visit, with a good guided tour laid on, which deepened our understanding of a man who played a significant role in the lives of various members of the Gaskell family. The current exhibition at the Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, about those relationships, continues until June 30 next year. Meanwhile, for anyone wanting to develop their acquaintance with the legacy of this extraordinary man, the Millennium Gallery (easily accessible from Sheffield Station) continues to display elements of the Ruskin Collection, and The Ruskin Library at Lancaster University also has an exhibition programme as well as being a research resource.
Chris Bamber, Volunteer at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House