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Derby's Museum of Making - read it and weep... by Richard Pettinger

13th September 2021

When was the last time a museum made you tearful?

I’ll be honest, I’m not a serial visitor of museums and art galleries; I know I should be, and I know I’m missing out. But it’s one of those things that, when suggested, just seems a little dry and worthy to be considered as a rewarding way of spending an afternoon.

No longer.

Today, I was fortunate enough to have been invited to visit Derby’s Museum of Making, in the Silk Mill, just before its official opening, this Friday. And it made me cry a little.

It was the single most uplifting, inspiring, enthralling and most expertly curated two hours that I have been privileged to experience in years.

I’m aware that I’m edging towards hyperbole here, and I hope that this doesn’t diminish the impact of what I am writing, but truly, you MUST find time to visit.

It’s been a long time in the creation (pandemic notwithstanding), and having seen it, I can understand why; from the very moment you enter, you are sensorily immersed in a dazzling display of the true essence of creation, invention, heritage and vision that effortlessly meshes history with modernity, and pragmatism with art.

It would be foolish of me to attempt to provide a blow-by-blow description of the countless exhibits (30,000, if you’re interested), but when you find yourself in the entrance atrium, examining 300-year-old artefacts and trinkets in the shadow of a seven tonne Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine, suspended from the roof, you know this is going to be something special.

And it is. Very special. 4 floors of constant delight and fascination capture your attention, and time just flies by. You find yourself catching your breath, grabbing the attention of your co-visitors, sharing stories, remembering. I cannot count how many times I heard someone say, “My dad/grandad/uncle had one of those!”. There are so many elegantly portrayed intersections between making and art, invention, and manufacture, that the lines between them become blurred, and you realise that making IS art, and art is part of industry. Always has been. And this whole experience was enough to make me emotional.

When was the last time a museum connected with you that deeply?

The Museum of Making isn’t just content with being a repository of fabulousness; you can enjoy coffee and cakes, weddings, conferences and hot-desking there, too. But whatever you do there, you’ll enjoy it.

I will indulge in a bit of hat-eating if Derby’s Museum of Making doesn’t rapidly become a visitor magnet in short order and feel sure that it will become completely iconic for the wider region and beyond.

Visit soon. I will. Again and again.

If you feel like sharing your experiences of Derby’s renaissance with Richard, or just fancy a chat about all things PR, drop him a line.

About Nielsen McAllister

Nielsen McAllister elevates businesses above the competition.

We have delivered award-winning B2B PR and marketing for over 30 years, with experience across many sectors and particular knowledge in packaging, print, property and professional services.

We are proud to be based in the heart of the UK in Derby, at the centre of the UK’s transport network, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We work with clients, some of whom have been with us from the beginning, on a local, national and international basis, depending on the specific needs of their businesses.

Our focus is always on adding value for our clients and providing them with a platform to communicate their innovation, achievement and success.

No fluff. All substance.

About Richard Pettinger (Account Manager, Nielsen McAllister PR)

If Richard has a speciality in the world of commerce, it’s that he doesn’t have a speciality….

Decades of account management experience within the ‘full service’ marketing agency sector has exposed him to pretty much every facet of client support, and he really cannot decide on his favourite.

So, while he tries to make his mind up, you’ll find him supporting our clients in whatever way they need to drive their business forward – copywriting, analysis, blogging, research, tea making…

Downtime activities revolve around reading, writing, armchair sport, fighting the urge to get another dog too soon, pretending to be able to play golf, and avoiding DIY in all its pernicious forms…