Warm welcome for new Derbyshire attraction Museum of Making

The opening of a new museum in Derbyshire has been hailed.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 2:00 pm

Derby Silk Mill – widely regarded as the site of the world’s first modern factory, within the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site – has been reborn as the new Museum of Making.

It showcases 300 years of innovation, design and manufacturing in Derby, as well as explaining the “valley that changed the world” with the birth of the modern factory system along the River Derwent, which helped kickstart the Industrial Revolution.

As well as telling the stories of Derby’s past, the museum features a new workshop, full of specialist equipment, with skilled staff on hand to support modern makers.

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Tony Butler, Derby Museums executive director, said: “This is no ordinary museum. The unique Grade II-listed building and all it represents is now celebrated and safeguarded.

“The Museum of Making tells the story of our industrial and creative past, but is also a hub for modern makers through the facilities and support on offer.

“The experience of visiting is designed to encourage people to understand how things are made, think about materials and their uses, have access to skills, knowledge and equipment that might otherwise be unavailable and help move mindsets from mass consumerism to sustainable production of things that are both useful and needed.

“We hope our new museum will become a must-see destination, bringing optimism and inspiring all who visit it.”

The Museum of Making has opened in Derby Silk Mill.

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No behind-the-scenes areas

On arriving at the museum, visitors enter the Civic Hall, a triple-height glass atrium built around a seven-tonne Rolls-Royce Trent 1,000 engine, which is suspended from the ceiling above visitors’ heads.

As well as a gallery setting the historical context of the Derwent Valley, visitors can then explore everything in the museum’s collection of more than 30,000 exhibits in The Assemblage, essentially a museum storage and archive area, but open to the public – museum bosses proudly say “there are no ‘behind the scenes’ areas”.

The museum has on display more than 30,000 objects, the majority of which have not been seen by the public before.

Anne Jenkins, of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which helped fund the museum with a £10 million grant, said: “The museum is an exemplar cultural attraction that local people can be proud of, a magnet for visitors and a driver for city centre regeneration.”

Entry to the museum is free, with the exception of special exhibitions, but tickets need to be booked in advance.

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The Museum of Making is a new visitor attraction in the heart of Derby, exploring 300 years of Derbyshire’s manufacturing history.
The Civic Hall space had to be built around the seven-tonne Rolls-Royce Trent 1,000 engine, which is suspended from the ceiling above visitors’ heads.
Visitors can create their own bespoke trail through The Assemblage, an area home to the museum’s 30,000 objects in its collections, arranged on a grid system.