And the winner is… now making headlines

Housed in a historic mill said to be the world’s first factory, and now home to a contemporary space marking 300 years of creativity and innovation, Derby’s Museum of Making is celebrating a run of prestigious awards.

Since it opened in May 2021, the museum at The Silk Mill, within the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site, has welcomed more than 35,000 visitors – and picked-up six industry awards.

Recognising the quality and craftsmanship in transforming the former mill into a world-class tourist destination, the 2021 Constructing Excellence East Midlands Awards – which, itself, is recognised as the biggest celebration of best practise in the region – bestowed the new Museum with an impressive five trophies.

It was named winner in the Building Project of the Year, Conservation and Regeneration, Innovation, and People Development categories – as well as receiving the highlight of the awards, the Winner of Winners title.

And that achievement was followed by the Museum winning the National Construction News Awards “Project of the Year Under £20m” category at an event that brought together more than 900 of the UK’s leading clients and contractors.

Celebrating Derby’s creative and manufacturing history that helped make the city one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution, the Museum of Making has established itself as an inspirational new gateway to the ‘city of making’, as well as to the World Heritage Site.

Marking its own 300th anniversary in 2021, the historic mill – built in 1721 and the first successful silk throwing mill in Britain – 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.

As well as winning awards for its design and construction, the Museum also says that feedback from visitors has been very positive too, with praise for the way it brings to life 300 years of manufacturing through the stories of the people and industries of Derby.

Revealing the whole building to the public for the very first time, the Museum displays over 30,000 objects, including the Rolls-Royce Eagle Engine which helped power the first transatlantic flight more than 100 years ago.

The city’s connection to manufacturing is celebrated too with the display of a Toyota Corolla car – but emphasising the Museum’s innovation, the vehicle looks a little different, deconstructed and ‘floating’ above visitors’ heads as they enter the building.

As well as this ‘exploded’ view of a new Corolla, with components in a position relative to where they would normally be fixed, visitors can also learn about the history of the Burnaston plant where it is manufactured, along with stories from individuals working across the production teams.

The Museum of Making has been developed and operated by Derby Museums with 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.

Entry is free to the new Museum of Making (except for some temporary exhibitions).

To find out more and to plan your visit to the Museum of Making, visit

For tourist information about Derby, and for the latest updates on what’s open, see