Museums and respecting our heritage

Derby Museum and Art Galley, The Strand, Derby.

The Entrance: Derby Museum and Art Galley, The Strand, Derby.

Earlier this week we had visitors including two children, one in their early teens and one a couple of years younger.  As for so much of the summer, the weather did not look promising, and we ended up visiting Derby’s Museum and Art Gallery.

This had been a favourite visiting point for school holidays when our children were young.  It appears to have made a positive lasting impression as, many years later, it continues to be somewhere they sometimes choose to take visiting friends.

When we visited this week we didn’t have time to do it justice, but it still made a positive impression and it’s been marked down as somewhere to visit again.

I thought the museum was surprisingly quiet for a school holiday, and I hope that it was not typical.  There is lots to see, most of it with a strong ‘Derby’ link and it includes some ‘hands-on’ activities for children too. 

It is carefully laid out, leading the visitor from one topic area to the next, but short cuts are permitted if you are interested in particular themes.  The most impressive exhibits are possibly the largest, like the bronze age boat, fossil hippopotamus bones or larger Joseph Wright paintings, but the detail on pieces of Crown Derby china or natural history exhibits is also a delight.

There is so much to learn and wonder about our history.  And this museum is just the start – Pickford House Museum picks up more of Derby’s social history, and I hope it is not too long before the Industrial Museum reopens to again recount the place engineering has in Derby’s history – and Derby’s role in shaping Britain and beyond.

But most of all I would like more people to visit and appreciate for themselves Derby’s place in the history and culture of Britain.  Then we might be more positive about Derby and sell our city more effectively to visitors and potential visitors…

PS – a week later…

There is a second website with information about Derby museums.  This may be the better website to log as the museums are due to be hived off into a Trust structure from the 1st October this year.  The trustees have been appointed, and the new staffing structure is due to include someone with a prime responsibility for marketing.  Good luck to the new team!

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