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An adult in a facemask about to start writing, with a set of coloured pens to one side. An adult in a facemask about to start writing, with a set of coloured pens to one side.

© Sheffield Museums

© Sheffield Museums

Museums by Mail was established during the pandemic to lift the spirits of those most in need and share the city’s museum collections with people in Sheffield.

Throughout the second lockdown, Sheffield Museums’ dedicated volunteers wrote and sent hundreds of postcards featuring artworks from Sheffield’s collection, along with personal messages, to people across Sheffield – in particular, to elderly people and those in residential homes, who may have been feeling especially isolated during this challenging period.

The volunteers generously spent hours writing hundreds of personalised messages, from goodwill wishes and personal memories to interesting insights about the artworks, and even including games for the recipients to play.

The postcards were initially distributed through several local organisations, including Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care, Sheffield Carers, Disability Sheffield, Sheffcare and Sheffield’s network of lunch clubs, a gesture providing support for the city’s communities and making a meaningful contribution to keeping them well. Today, we continue to work with organisations right across the city.

Sheffield Museums volunteers and staff at the Marsh Awards

Every postcard that goes out features a unique message, but comes from the same place of kindness and a desire to help everyone stay connected with each other and their city.

In November 2021, Museums by Mail was recognised by the British Museum and Marsh Charitable Trust as part of their annual national awards. The project, which this week received a Volunteers for Museum Learning Award.

Museums by Mail runs each year during the winter. Opportunities to take part in the programme are available from November and postcards are sent up until the end of February.

To sign your organisation up to the programme or to talk through accessing postcards for your group, email

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