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Derby Museum & Art Gallery

Founded: 1836        Governance: LA-supported trust        Scope: Art, local history, ethnography    Visited: Autumn 2012

My visit - a bit of a rush on a damp weekday afternoon, not long before the place closed - didn't really do justice to what is the largest and perhaps most conventional and 'civic' of the treasure-houses featured here. Derby Museum owes its origins to a typically eclectic Victorian gathering of impedimenta by a local society, and once occupied the typically Victorian Library building you can see here and which is possibly one of the most insane-looking structures I've ever seen. Thankfully you don't have to look at it any more (you do go into it but not from the outside) and instead enter via a relatively recently-refurbished 1960s extension which is nice and clean and modern. The art of Joseph Wright and Derby porcelain both feature largely in the DMAG's galleries today, but I have to admit in my hasty exploration of the place I missed both. Instead I found myself marvelling at some of the arrangements in the archaeology and ethnographic displays, and the exhibition '1001 objects', a way of displaying some of the unassociated rubbish all museums tend to accumulate, by arranging objects on an aesthetic rather than informational basis.

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