Museum of Making opens at Derwent Valley Mills heritage site

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image copyrightDerby Museums
image captionAbout 30,000 objects are on display at the museum

A major new museum has opened in a UNESCO World Heritage Site that housed what is believed to be the world's first successful modern factory.

Derby's Museum of Making features more than 30,000 exhibits, including Rolls-Royce engines and a Silk motorbike.

The attraction is based inside the 300-year-old Grade II listed Silk Mill and replaces a previous museum on the site.

Derby Museums received National Lottery funding for the £18m redevelopment, which has taken 10 years to complete.

image copyrightMuseum of Making
image captionA Rolls-Royce Trent 1,000 is suspended from the museum's ceiling

The mill sits within the Derwent Valley Mills heritage site, considered "the birthplace of the factory system".

Exhibits include a seven-tonne Rolls-Royce Trent 1,000 engine, suspended from the ceiling above visitors' heads, a Silk 700S motorbike and the Midlands Model Railway, retained from the Silk Mill Museum which operated on the site previously.

There is also a workshop area, inspired by programmes like The Repair Shop, where staff will support visitors to work on their own furniture and jewellery.

image copyrightMuseum of Making
image captionThis tiny engine - one of the world's smallest - will also be on display

Tony Butler, Derby Museums' executive director, said the museum, "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".

The National Lottery Heritage Fund contributed £10m to the project.

Anne Jenkins, director for England, Midlands and East, said: "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."

Industrial heritage

image copyrightDerby Museums
image captionTony Butler, from Derby Museums, said "this is no ordinary museum"
  • Cromford to Darley Abbey, along the River Derwent, was granted World Heritage status by Unesco in 2001
  • The Derwent Valley Mills are considered "the birthplace of the factory system"
  • The site includes Cromford Mills which was the world's first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill
  • The valley saw pioneering work by Richard Arkwright, Jedediah Strutt, and the Lombe brothers

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