Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill

We have worked on the project since 2011 through three successive appointments and have become partners with Derby Museums, together with the Creative Core, in shaping and supporting the strategic and curatorial direction of the museum.

Derby’s Silk Mill is the site of the world’s first factory and a part of Derwent Valley Mills Unesco World Heritage Site. The Museum Trust undertook a £16.4m programme to create an inspirational and active Museum of Making – locally designed and delivered; globally significant. The Museum of Making was co-produced with communities, volunteers, staff and an integrated consultant team – inspiring future generations of makers, creators and innovators.

The new Museum of Making opened in May 2021 following its major transformation which included the construction of the Civic Hall, creating a dramatic welcome space and housing a suspended Rolls-Royce Trent 1,000 engine alongside items from the collection, a new cafe and retail space.


  • Making of the Museum of Making has been truly in the spirit of collaboration, creativity and co-production from inception to completion and beyond into the future.
  • Through a series of experimental phases, we worked hand-in-hand with audiences, volunteers and partners to prototype the concept for the Museum of Making. Using a small amount of capital funding, the ground floor of the building was refurbished in 2015 to reveal the original fabric of the building and create a large, light and open space. The ‘fit-out’ and use of this space, inspired by the ‘maker movement’, has provided opportunities for volunteers and partners to be involved as citizen makers and curators, working with Makers-in-Residence (offering industry expertise and experience), client and design and co-production teams.
  • Collectively we will have designed and built the building, furniture, fixtures and fittings; programmed events and activities; and created the first ‘DIY’ museum with community participation at its heart. The approach to the development of the Silk Mill has received national and international attention and secured Stage 1 funding from HLF and ACE.
  • We reviewed all procurement options and continuing in the collaborative spirit of the project we championed the Integrated Project Insurance (IPI) method which requires all key stakeholders to form one single virtual company to allow us to share risks and work in a blame free environment.


Image Credits

Architectural Photography: Nick Dearden – Building Narratives

except from the following images:

Slideshow images 3, 5, 10, 12, 18, 22, 23 and 34 by Speller Metcalfe
Visitor portraits by Chris Seddon Photography
Other photos by Bauman Lyons Architects


Derby Museums




£17 million


Grade II listed

Collaborative Team

Creative Core
GCA Consulting
Derry Building Services
Preston Barber
Speller Metcalfe