Latest News | 20 April 2021

New Museum of Making ready to unleash 300 years of history

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Derby Museums has announced that the highly anticipated Museum of Making will welcome its first visitors next month.

The new museum, created on the site of the Silk Mill – widely regarded as the world’s first modern factory – will open its doors from Friday 21 May. Its opening will also mark the start of a series of Derby and Derbyshire-wide events, celebrating 300 years of making.

Operated by Derby Museums, the Museum of Making has been made possible thanks to major grant funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and Derby City Council. Significant support has also been received from Rolls-Royce and a range of charitable trusts and foundations.

Tony Butler, executive director of Derby Museums, said: “We are delighted we are going to be able to welcome people to the fantastic new Museum of Making from Friday 21 May.

“While there are the usual caveats around possible changes to government guidelines, we hope that this date will be fixed, and we can’t wait to get people through our doors and see what they make of Derby’s brand new museum.”

As well as its opening date, the museum has announced a wider programme of events and activities that arts, cultural and city-wide organisations have been collaborating on to help celebrate 300 years of creativity and making across the region.

Called ‘300’ – to mark the momentous anniversary of the first modern factory – events across the county will be linking into the making theme.

Examples include the Derby Ram Trail, Darley Park Concert, Georgian Derbyshire Festival, Derby Festé and Assemble.

These are just some of the events that will all be part of an umbrella brand – 300 Years of Making.

The Cathedral Quarter, QUAD, Derby Cathedral, Derby Book Festival and the University of Derby, among others, will all be adding events to the programme as lockdown eases.

Tony said: “We are really pleased that the museum has been able to collaborate with organisations and institutions across the city and more widely to bring everyone together to create an amazing programme of activities and events.

“These activities will help us to celebrate 300 years of making, as well as looking to the future to inspire the creativity and innovation that made Derby an early centre of the Industrial Revolution 300 years ago.”

Speaking about the Museum of Making, Anne Jenkins, director (England Midlands & East) at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “It is wonderful that, thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to support Derby Museums in transforming what is widely regarded as the world’s first modern factory into an inclusive, 21st Century heritage destination.

“At the start of this journey, Derby Silk Mill was a sleeping giant, under-appreciated and at risk.

“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.

“Visitors will be enticed to learn more about Derby’s rich industrial heritage, as the museum sits proudly at the gateway to the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

Sajeeda Rose, chief executive of the D2N2 LEP, said: “The Museum of Making will be a world-class attraction, supporting the regeneration and growth of Derby city centre, and a must-visit destination for those in the East Midlands and beyond.

“We hope it will inspire the next generation of ‘makers’ and our collective ambitions to rebuild and grow our economy.”

Peter Knott, Midlands area director for Arts Council England, said: “We are delighted to be investing in the new Museum of Making and hope visitors will get a real sense of the history and importance of industry to Derby as they explore the site.

“We are proud to champion the role creativity plays in bringing history to life and hope the museum inspires local and international visitors to explore Derby’s heritage in a creative way for many years to come.”

Entry is free to the new Museum of Making (with the exception of some temporary exhibitions).

However, due to Covid restrictions, visitors will need to book in advance. Booking will be open from 10am on Tuesday 4 May.

To find out more please click here.

For more information on the events being held to mark 300 years of making, visit

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