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Weekend in Derby: Museum of Making, Derby Museum & Art Gallery

5th October 2021

I first came to Derby when I studied at the university for my creative writing and English Literature degree. Derby was a different place when I was student, with highlights including the epic Pink Coconut and Eclipse. Fast forward to 2021 and Derby is looking even more exciting. There are more things to do, there are even more cultural places to visit. Derby is a city that I am really fond of and proud to live in.

Two towering Derby landmarks have shaped the city’s physical and cultural landscape, and they are the Museum of Making and Derby Museum & Art Gallery.

I wanted to explore Derby and learn more about Derby’s history and the buildings that attract visitors from far and wide. In order to do this, I collaborated with Visit Derby, who created an itinerary involving a Derby based excursion. I spent the day in Derby, flitting between the Museum of Making and Derby Museum & Art Gallery, managing all important pitstops including lunch, supper and cocktails in between. Here is how I got on.

The Museum of Making

Silk Mill Lane, Derby DE1 3AF | 01332 641901

The Museum of Making opened to great fanfare earlier this month, whilst its official launch was on Friday 24 September 2021.


It is a bright Sunday morning as we make our way to the Museum of Making. We hop onto a trentbarton bus that gets us into the city centre in just over 10 minutes. Several marquees dot the Cathedral Green and there is activity from various local charity and befriending organisations as we approach the museum.

The first thing we see upon entering the Museum of Making is a dismantled car suspended in mid-air. It’s difficult to miss. This attention grabbing display hooks you and you cannot help but marvel, slack-jawed in wonder as you think about the logistics how the airborne car came to be. Sections of the car hover in mid-air, as if an invisible giant is slowly piecing it together and holding it aloft. The exploded floating car is utterly beguiling.

On the day, Jane is our tour-guide, whose knowledgeable and dulcet tones take us on a learning journey as we traverse through the building. If you think you can visit the Museum of Making and be done in 30 minutes, you’re wrong. You will want to spend the full day there, then return for a second session. What you’ll find out, is that there is always more to unearth, see, and therefore the learning journey with Museum of Making is never-ending. And that is exactly how I like it.

There is loads to do at the Museum of Making. I cannot list everything here and do the building justice, so I’ll list the highlights and leave you to plot your own adventure there.

Top 10 Highlights at the Museum of Making Derby

1. That floating Toyota Corolla in the entrance. You cannot help but wonder how they managed to get it up there in the first place and the painstaking detail and measurements involved in ensuring each piece was perfectly positioned.

2. The Museum of Making has a rare Lowry painting ‘Houses near a Mill’ that was bought for £42 but is now worth an estimated £1 million. It is a painting that you instantly recognise as a Lowry, replete with matchstick men and matchstick animals. Interestingly, the scene depicted isn’t industrial like Lowry’s usual work, but something more local and intimate.