Opening of new Museum of Making launches a year of celebration in Derby

The new Museum of Making in Derby will throw open its doors to its first visitors from Friday 21 May 2021 – launching a host of events in a year of celebration for the city.

Marking its remarkable creative and manufacturing history that helped make the city one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution, Derby will see its innovative new museum open at The Silk Mill, the site of what is widely regarded as the world’s first modern factory.

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.

Set to be an inspirational new gateway to the ‘city of making’, as well as to the World Heritage Site, 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.

Revealing the whole building to the public for the very first time, 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).

Derby Museums, in partnership with Wild in Art will be bringing the Derby Ram Trail to the city in May. This public art event, featuring over 30 uniquely decorated ram sculptures, each of which is sponsored by a local business, makes the Ram Trail deeply rooted to Derby. It will make up a great family-friendly walking trail threading through Derby city centre.

In August, Sinfonia Viva, supported by Rolls-Royce, presents one of the UK’s biggest outdoor classical concerts in the stunning natural amphitheatre that is Darley Park. Visitors will be able to enjoy a spectacular evening of fireworks and live music inspired by the theme of engineering, science and technology, celebrating 300 years of making in Derby.

And in September, well-loved festival Derby Festé will be working alongside the Museum of Making to extend the theme of making into its events, marking 300 years of making in a range of exciting performances and activities across the city.

More details of the events can be found at or by following #Derby300.

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

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. Booking will be open from 10am on Tuesday 4 May.

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

Photo: Derby Museums