From the wonder of Wright to our fantastic porcelain, military, natural history, costume, toy theatre and ancient Egyptian collections, there’s something new to discover that will arouse your curiosity and inspire your imagination every time you visit one of our Museums.
Derby Museums cares for and shares the large and varied collection that belongs to Derby City Council. Comprising of more than 250,000 objects they fall into a number of subject areas including; archaeology, natural sciences, fine and decorative arts, social and industrial history and world collections. Our Collections Development Policy has a fuller description of our collection.
The collection was formed from that of the former Town and County Museum that opened in temporary homes during the early and mid 1800s. Following the gift of the money from Michael Thomas Bass, a local businessman and MP to build a new museum and library the current museum opened in 1879. Approaching 20% of the Derby Museums collection is currently displayed in at the now much extended Museum and Art Gallery, Pickford’s House Museum and the Silk Mill.
The collection is still being added to through gifts, bequests and where possible purchases. We cannot collect everything that we are offered and use our Collections Development Policy to ensure that we only collect things that meet the needs of our users and communities. If you would like to donate something to us please check our policy here.
There are two collections that are of particular note.
The Joseph Wright of Derby Collection
Joseph Wright (1734-1797) the 18th Century painter is probably Derby’s most famous son. Comprising paintings, drawings, associated archives and objects the Joseph Wright collection at Derby Museums was Designated as being of National Importance by Arts Council England in 2011. Just under 100% of this collection is either on display or accessible. You can find an introduction to our Joseph Wright Collection here.
Take a look at all of our fine art collection, including the Joseph Wright collection, on Art UK.
The Collections of Making
Comprising of objects and archives that chart the rise and continuation of Derby’s manufacturing history and those who were involved in these industries this collection will form the basis of the redeveloped Silk Mill as it becomes Derby’s Museum of Making. They will be displayed and fully accessible when the museum fully opens in 2020. To find out more about the project and how you can get involved please look here – The Silk Mill.
We are working to make more information about our collection available on our website, please look out for this in the coming months.