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Derby Silk Mill reopens as £18m Museum of Making in Derby

Derby Silk Mill has reopened to the public as the Museum of Making following an £18 million redevelopment of the Derwent Valley Mills attraction.

museum of making derby

Opened on May 21, the Museum of Making is located within the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site. It will be operated by Derby Museums.

The Museum of Making’s displays were created in partnership with local residents and showcase 300 years of innovation, design and manufacturing in Derby.

“The Museum of Making tells the story of our industrial and creative past, but it is also a hub for modern makers through the facilities and support on offer,” said Tony Butler, executive director of Derby Museums.

The visitor experience 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”, said Butler.

Museum of Making operated by Derby Museums

“Derby has been shaped by an incredible array of cultural and industrial innovations over the last 300 years, and the new Museum of Making is the exciting next chapter in the story – and one we are delighted we can now share with everyone.”

The museum‘s entrance has been built around the Rolls-Royce Trent 1,000 engine, which hangs from the ceiling. The collection is separated by materials, including wood, metal, ceramic, glass and textile.

The Museum of Making has displayed all of its 30,000 objects, many of which can be found in an open storage area called the Assemblage. Objects include the world’s smallest engine, the Midland Model Railway and the Silk 700S motorbike.

Galleries feature stories of making, including a video wall of modern makers. New gallery space will house touring exhibitions, and the first temporary exhibition explores scale and features the work of artists alongside objects from the collection.

30,000 objects at Derby’s Museum of Making

museum of making derby

The museum’s centrepiece is a workshop brimming with specialist equipment and skilled staff to inspire the next generation of creators, while an attraction at the top of the building called The View overlooks the city.

In addition, the Institute of STEAM is an educational resource created in partnership with Rolls-Royce. The museum also boasts a café called The River Kitchen on the banks of the River Derwent, as well as a gift shop and event spaces.

“At the start of this journey, Derby Silk Mill was a sleeping giant, under-appreciated and at risk,” said Anne Jenkins, director of England Midlands & East at National Lottery Heritage Fund.

“Now, the new Museum of Making is an exemplar cultural attraction that local people can be proud of, a magnet for visitors and a driver for city centre regeneration.”

Images: Derby Museums

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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