Derby Museums is pleased to announce the reopening of the Museum of Making at 10am on Friday 26th January after flooding forced its closure back in October 2023.
The Museum of Making was forced to temporarily close due to significant flood damage caused by the severe weather conditions of Storm Babet in late October. Whilst the building was designed to withstand an element of flooding and staff worked tirelessly to move as much as possible off the ground floor, water levels reached 3.58m – the highest level since records began – which left Derby Museums with no option but to close its doors immediately. Over the past couple of months, museum staff and professionals have been working alongside insurers to repair the damage caused, with work including a professional deep clean of the entire ground floor, new and repaired equipment in the kitchen and workshops and upgrades to display furniture. Due to the design of the building, which sees the majority of collections housed on upper floors and moveable displays on the ground floor, and the foresight of staff, no objects from the museums’ collections were damaged during the flood.
The Derby Museums team have been overwhelmed by the ongoing support, generous donations and kind offers of help received from the local community and businesses since the flood, with an appeal in the early days of the closure receiving over 300 donations. The generosity of the public and business community has enabled Derby Museums to mitigate a substantial amount of costs unrecoverable under the insurance policy.
Following the reopening, visitors will once more be able to engage with the 30,000 objects on display, including the striking Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine and ‘exploded’ Toyota Corolla car suspended in the Civic Hall. In addition, the much-anticipated exhibition of a giant scale LEGO® model of the Lake District will open to the public. The model has been created by local artist Jon Tordoff, who in 2020, became inspired by his lifelong interest in LEGO® and his love of the Lake District to begin creating one of England’s most famous landscapes out of LEGO® bricks, he still hasn’t stopped!
Visitors on opening weekend can expect to see some changes in the museum. The Old Shop gallery has been rehung with new flatworks, a particular highlight being a painting of the Acropolis of Athens, formerly hung in the now closed Acropolis café – Derby’s oldest café at the time of its closure last July. Families will notice brand new on-gallery making activities, free for all to enjoy, a LEGO® Minifigure trail and drop-in activities taking place over the opening weekend. Curators and volunteers will also be on gallery with object handling, allowing visitors to get hands-on with Derby’s history.
Tony Butler, Executive Director of Derby Museums says: “I am delighted that the Museum of Making is reopening, our team has worked hard to get back up and running as soon as possible. It has been heart-warming for our team to see just how much the museum means to the city and how much our community have missed us. I’d like to thank our fantastic supporters, both individuals and the local business community; for your support during this difficult time.”
The team at Derby Museums are hopeful the reopening will once more attract new visitors to the city. In the last financial year, the Museum of Making attracted over 122,000 visitors, proving itself to be an attractive and invaluable heritage asset for Derby. In a recent economic impact report, Derby Museums was estimated to support Derby’s hospitality, leisure and tourism offer by generating an estimated £7m of tourism spend in the local economy, with £4m coming from the Museum of Making alone.
The Museum of Making will reopen its doors at 10am on Friday 26 January. Find out more about what’s on at the Museum of Making here: https://derbymuseums.org/museum-of-making/whats-on/.
Header image: The Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill © Pictoria Pictures/Derby Museums