Arts Derbyshire


Exhibition empowering Derbyshire History Makers opens at Derby Museums

An empowering new exhibition and project lab – History Makers: Unfolded – opens this Saturday 22nd July at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.


The exhibition, which runs until March 2024, offers visitors the chance to explore the diverse histories of Derbyshire people, and invites members of the public to contribute to an ongoing conversation about how our history makers can be empowered in museum spaces, both now and in the future.


Following on from the success of Derby Museums’ first History Makers exhibition last year, this second instalment continues to explore individual and collective experiences, uncover untold stories, and celebrate inspiring legacies. To better represent Derbyshire’s past and present as we continue to develop our galleries, we want to consider with our audiences who we represent and how we represent them.

The first History Makers exhibition and project lab – History Makers: A Celebration of Derbyshire Women and Gender Diversity – was developed by Derby Museums in 2022, in partnership with volunteers, museum staff and community groups. It explored what it means to make history in Derbyshire and explored the lack of representation for both women and gender diverse people within Museum spaces.

The original exhibition set out to investigate and challenge the historical record, which has often overlooked or misrepresented individuals and groups whose lives make up our shared history. It acted as a catalyst for discussion around representation and the need to empower present and future generations of history makers.

Now, a second exhibition – History Makers: Unfolded – builds on this momentum, reflecting on the histories being told, the legacy to date, and asking visitors to contribute their own stories and memories around important historical moments, as history makers in their own right. An interactive project lab also encourages visitors to share their thoughts on representation in museums.

Derby Museums’ Head of Collections, Sally Hawley, said:

“The public response to the first History Makers exhibition was phenomenal – it has helped to shape our thinking as a civic museum around the empowerment of current and future history makers within our gallery spaces. By capturing further public insights, we hope to build on this legacy to better represent the diversity and richness of our community’s collective heritage in our museum spaces.”

“Everybody is a history maker, and we hope visitors will add their own stories to the project lab using the resources provided. We hope to inspire visitors to join the conversation and we ask them to share with us their own histories and stories and nominate other history makers as they explore the galleries.”

Through this inclusive approach, visitors will discover what has been learned so far, who Derby Museums has been working with, and how the organisation has responded to these findings.

By challenging the historical record, embracing inclusivity and recognising the contributions of Derbyshire’s women and gender-diverse individuals, the exhibition strives to create a legacy of empowerment, representation and understanding in the community as well as within museum spaces.

History Makers: Unfolded opens at Derby Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday 22nd July and runs until Sunday 10th March 2024. Admission is free with an ask to ‘Give What You Think’ by charitable donation. More information can be found on Derby Museums’ website at: or by following @derbymuseums on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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