A new exhibition and project lab – History Makers: A celebration of Derbyshire women and gender diversity – opens this week at Derby Museum and Art Gallery and will run until February 2023.
Content for the exhibition has been years in the making, developed from feedback from visitors, volunteers and community members about the lack of representation for both women and gender diversity within the museums’ galleries.
The exhibition marks the start of an important ongoing conversation for Derby Museums about how the organisation, as a civic museum, might empower, support and create space for this work – who does the museum represent, and how can that be done equitably within the museums’ galleries?
A key question for the exhibition is, ‘Who is a History Maker?’ and the answer is all of us – some famously make history, but we all make and change history through our lives. The exhibition recognises the contribution and cultural expression of Derbyshire history makers throughout the ages, with an emphasis on the inspirational stories of those often overlooked or misrepresented in our shared history.
With volunteers feeding into research around the project over time, Derby Museums has developed its thinking in response to the work and findings of grassroots, community-led heritage projects, in particular the National Lottery Heritage Funded ‘Deeds not Words’ project and International Women’s Day Derby’s ‘Herstory’ project.
Derby Museums’ Head of Collections, Sally Hawley, said:
“We have worked in co-production with organisations and individuals who do incredible work throughout Derbyshire to empower our communities and campaign for positive change. This exhibition explores what it means to be a history maker and aims to inspire history makers today and in the future.”
“These displays could have been developed differently, in innumerable ways and they will continue to change over time. The exhibition does not aim to represent all Derbyshire history makers; rather it is a place for us to reflect on our past and make plans for the future.”
“Everybody is a history maker, and we hope visitors will add their own stories to this exhibition using the resources provided. We hope to inspire visitors to join the conversation, perhaps remembering other history makers as they explore the galleries and identify important moments to commemorate.”
The first gallery takes visitors on a chronological journey, highlighting individual stories against a timeline of events that affected the lives of history makers across Derbyshire. Emerging themes are explored through objects on display and visitors are actively encouraged to share their own reflections and experiences to help the exhibition evolve.
The project lab in gallery two will host an exciting programme of events and workshops where possibilities to create a lasting legacy in the museum’s permanent galleries will be explored with the public.
History Makers: A celebration of Derbyshire women and gender diversity is now open at Derby Museum and Art Gallery until 12th February 2023. Admission is free with an ask to Give What You Think by charitable donation. More information can be found here or by following @derbymuseums on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Image (c) Pictoria Pictures-Derby Museums