Celebrating Derby’s industrial heritage

By | Category: Travel destinations

Tomorrow, (21st of May) the new Museum of Making in Derby will open its doors to its first visitors. The museum is located at The Silk Mill, the site of what is widely regarded as the world’s first modern factory.

The new Musuem of Making in Derby – Image: Derby Museums

Completing a triple celebration, the museum opens during the 300th anniversary of The Silk Mill, and the 20th anniversary of the Derwent Valley Mills becoming a World Heritage Site.

Along with the opening of the museum, Derby will be hosting events from a colourful public art trail to a summer concert with music inspired by engineering, science and technology.

With that slightly odd name, visitors might be intrigued by what it is that the museum offers.

As one of the key cities at the start of the Industrial Revolution, the ‘city of making’ as Derby addresses itself – the historic Mill has been ‘reimagined’ as a museum designed from the floor up as a place to not only celebrate past and present, but encourage the makers of tomorrow through ‘hands-on’ experiences and immersive displays.

A contemporary space telling Derby’s 300-year history of innovation and ‘making’ within the former Silk Mill, it has been designed and made by the people and industries of Derby, with original features and the façade left in place wherever possible along with a new triple height glass atrium.

The new museum will display over 30,000 objects, including the Rolls-Royce Eagle Engine which helped power the first transatlantic flight more than 100 years ago.

Built in 1721 by the Lombe family, Derby Silk Mill was regarded as a wonder of the world, and according to local legend the silk throwing machines were based on machines studied by John Lombe in Italy – the designs of these having been copied and smuggled into England in an early example of industrial espionage.

As well as its opening date, a wider programme of events will help celebrate 300 years of creativity and making across the region. Simply called ‘300’ – to mark the momentous anniversary of the first modern factory – events across the county will be linking into the ‘making’ theme, including the Derby Ram Trail (27 May to 22 August), Darley Park Concert (29 August) and Derby Festé (24 to 26 September).

Entry is free to the new Museum of Making (with the exception of some temporary exhibitions) but, due to Covid restrictions, visitors will need to book in advance

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