In 2009/10 Derby City Council undertook a Museums Service Review.

‘The Future of Derby Museums’ report in 2011 highlighted several opportunities to transform the service and build on the rich heritage of the City’s cultural assets, including the Derby Silk Mill within the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site.  In particular, this related to business development, fundraising, audience development and commercial management.  It was acknowledged that a new organisational structure would need to be established to allow Derby Museums to achieve at a higher level and without additional support from the Council.

The Council recognised that the current state of Derby Museums and the financial context within which it operates required a radical overhaul.

Derby City Council commissioned external assistance to enable acceleration of its Museums Service Transformation Programme in 2011/12 and SLC was commissioned to provide a range of focused support.



The Transformation Programme had a number of objectives and key elements which SLC supported Derby City Council with, as follows:

·         Provide programme management support for the Transformation programme

·         Support the re-structure of the Museums Service in a transitional phase towards a new governance model, based on greater entrepreneurialism, more commercial working, and the building of new partnerships

·         Develop a project plan for the re-development of the Silk Mill as the one of the city’s major visitor attractions

·         Support and content provision in developing a successful major Renaissance grants bid to Arts Council England.


SLC worked closely with Associate William Culver-Dodds to provide programme management support for the Transformation Programme. This enabled the leadership of the service to focus on the reorganisation. SLC, in their review of the service in particular focused on the financial performance and structure of the service.

SLC provided business planning and project management support for the future service in preparation for establishing a new Derby Museums Trust – an independent charitable trust operating three museums: the Museum and Art Gallery, the Museum of Making and Pickford’s House.

The Trust has since developed a national and international reputation for innovation and excellence and cares for the collections of cultural heritage on behalf of Derby City Council and the people of Derby.



SLC provided vital early feasibility and business planning support for the Museum of Making – the Derby Silk Mill which recently successfully opened in 2021 after securing £18 million in funding.

A handling session for schools in the Assemblage at the Museum of Making - image 096 [c] Chris Seddon Photography-Derby Museums

A handling session for schools in the Assemblage at the Museum of Making – image 096 [c] Chris Seddon Photography-Derby Museums