European première in
North-Rhine Westphalia:

The completion of the first, decentralised museum of industrial and social history!

Six sites = one museum: on 15th September 2000 the Rhineland Industrial Museum will be celebrating its completion with the opening of its sixth and last site, the Müller Cloth Factory in Euskirchen near Bonn! The construction period of one of the most important museum projects in Europe has therefore now reached its conclusion. The ‘Landschaftsverband Rheinland', the supporting authority of the Rhineland Industrial Museum, is taking over full responsibility for the running costs. Up to now the Region of North-Rhine Westphalia has contributed 90% of the cost of reconstructing the six important industrial monuments for use as museums.
"Workplace - Monument - Museum": this sequence of words sums up the career of each of the six sites which together make up the Rhineland Industrial Museum. The old factory walls now contain impressive permanent collections, all of which relate the history of the industrial era in the Rhineland. Fascinating exhibits from the worlds of metal, textiles and paper enrich the presentations in the museums in Oberhausen, Ratingen, Solingen, Bergisch Gladbach, Engelskirchen and Euskirchen. Each site is thus a unique museum experience!

High Tension
Tracking the current in the Ermen and Engels cotton mill

In the Rhineland Industrial Museum in Engelskirchen the atmosphere is electric - here visitors are invited to follow the track of the current. Around 1900 the Ermen and Engels cotton mill - one of the founders was the father of the socialist Friedrich Engels - had its own power station which also supplied the rest of Engelskirchen with electricity. As late as 1979 masses of water were pouring day and night into the turbines. Today's visitors can trace the production of electricity at close quarters without even wetting their toes. Our permanent exhibition ‘High Tension' describes how the introduction of electricity transformed life in the factory and at home. Well-known electric appliances used in offices and homes, like the Mercedes Elektra (one of the first electric typewriters) and the 'Starmix' (a classic from the 50s) await your visit. The museum also offers a 'three-course' discovery tour whose destinations include another great industrial attraction, the Oelchenshammer - the last water-driven forge in the Leppe valley.

-->INFORMATION ABOUT THE RHEINISCHE INDUSTRIEMUSEUM (The Museum for Industrial and Social History in the Rhineland):

Scarcely any other region has been more affected by industrialisation than North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW). There have been more changes here during the two industrial revolutions of the past 150 years than in the previous two thousand years of settlement. The present dramatic process of industrial transformation and technological restructuring is not only causing a substantial loss of jobs. Monuments to the world of industry and labour are being daily cast aside. For this reason the two regional authorities in North-Rhine Westphalia - the Landschaftsverband Rheinland and the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe - have made it a priority to preserve and maintain former industrial architecture and important manufacturing sites in the area. Disused factories have been transformed into industrial museums. Since the 1980s the Rheinisches Industriemuseum (RIM) has taken charge of six sites and the Westphalian Industrial Museum (WIM) eight. These cover the region's most important industries as well as the different stages of industrial development. As far as possible the factories have been preserved in their authentic states and visitors can experience at close quarters demonstrations of metal-processing or textile manufacture, follow the stages of paper production or brush up their knowledge on electricity and its uses. Questions concerning the social and cultural historical aspects of industrialisation are always to the fore. Guided tours, special demonstrations and educational programmes are amongst the many extra attractions on offer in all the museums. The Rheinische Industriemuseum with its six different sites offers visitors a unique and fascinating chance to explore the industrial history of the Rhineland. The museums in Oberhausen, Ratingen, Solingen, Bergisch Gladbach, Engelskirchen and Euskirchen are the stopping-points along your voyage into industrial history. The following museums in Europe are partners of the Rhineland Industrial Museum: the Museu de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya and the Écomusée de la Communauté Le Creusot/Montceau-Les-Mines. Alongside RIM the Landschaftsverband Rheinland also supports other institutions dealing with industrial history in the area, such as the Zinkhütter Hof in Stolberg near Aachen.

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