In 2001 the library moved out of the building and the museum underwent a redevelopment project, creating additional gallery space and an extension to the much-loved winter gardens.
The gallery’s strength lies in its collection of works by 19th and 20th-century British artists including Gabrielle Dante Rossetti, Clarkson Stanfield, Edward Burra and a number of paintings by LS Lowry, as well as contemporary works by Thomas Schindler, David
Inshaw and Neil MacPherson. Curators use the galleries and winter gardens to site exhibitions and temporary commissions. The gallery stages a varied programme of temporary exhibitions and commissions throughout the year working closely with contemporary artists.
A visit to Sunderland must include a visit to the museum combined with the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art. The real gems in the collection are the unusual and wonderful LS Lowry seascapes and portraits and the recently purchased and even more wonderful Ged Quinn painting Garden of Earthly Delights. You have to search a bit to find them.