The Friends of Derby Museums might look unassuming, though don’t be fooled into thinking they are as quiet as they seem.

Over the past 48 years, the Friends, totalling just over 130 members, have raised a staggering £127,550.96 to help Derby Museums acquire just over 300 objects to add to their collections.

The final cheque given at the Celebration event hosted at the Museum and Art Gallery, was for £15,000, which included legacy gifts from Canon Michael Mallender and Janet Parkinson, two Friends who had been involved since the very early years.

Pam Helm, Chair of the Friends, said:

It gives me great pleasure to have supported Derby Museums as the last Chair of the Friends of Derby Museums. These amounts represent a lot of hard work and support from our members and  it is with great pleasure and pride that I handed over this final gift of £15,000 on their behalf, to the Derby Museums Endowment Fund.

As an Endowment gift, this means our donation will not only be doubled with match funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund but will also provide a lasting legacy of our support.”

Tony Butler, Executive Director of Derby Museums said:

Over the past 48 years, the Friends have been instrumental in their support for Derby Museums. I cannot thank them enough for their ongoing support for the museums and for being such strong ambassadors of our work.

We are also excited about the launch of the new Derby Museums’ Friends and the opportunity to open up our Family Friends membership scheme with the additional family friendly benefits we have on offer.”

Some of the most famous pieces the Friends have helped acquire include the portraits for Francis and Mary Hurt, painted by our Joseph Wright of Derby and the two landscapes ‘A View of Cromford Bridge’ and ‘Arkwright’s Mills’ also painted by Joseph Wright.

These latter acquisitions were purchased in Derby Museums’ exciting appeal to raise £233,107 in 10 days when, following a tip off from the Duke of Devonshire, who had alerted Derby Museums that they were up for auction. The Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and the V&A also generously supported this appeal.

The Friends’ last acquisition was to help Derby Museums to acquire the Idridgehay Coin Hoard, a post-medieval coin hoard of three countermarked silver Spanish 8 Reales (“Cromford Dollars”) and four silver shillings which will be included in the ‘Derbyshire Unearthed Part 2’ exhibition at Derby Museum and Art Gallery between February and April 2018.

Other than raising money for Derby Museums, the Friends will continue to enjoy an exciting programme of talks, socials and excursions.

To find out more about the benefits of Friends membership, simply visit the Derby Museums website or pick up a leaflet at one of the Derby Museums sites.

Find out more and donate by emailing jennifer@derbymuseums.org or calling 01332 641901. You can also find more information on the Derby Museums website.