The Ruhr Museum is located in the former Coal Washing Plant of the Zollverein Coal Mine, Shaft XII in Essen, Germany. It has existed since 01.01.2008 as a dependent foundation within the Zollverein Foundation funded by the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Rhineland Regional Council (Landschaftsverband Rheinland; LVR) and the city of Essen. As a unique type of regional museum it showcases the entire natural and cultural history of the Ruhr area in its permanent exhibition. It is not a traditional industrial museum, but presents itself as the memory of and a window for the new Ruhr Metropolis.
The Ruhr Museum has extensive collections on the geology, archaeology, history and photography of the Ruhr area, consisting mainly of artefacts from the collections of the former Ruhrlandmuseum. The collections are continuously being enhanced, in particular with regional artefacts. In addition to the permanent exhibition “Nature, Culture and History of the Ruhr Area”, the Ruhr Museum regularly creates special exhibitions, including those which do not necessarily refer to the Ruhr area. It combines its extensive exhibition and event programme with the Denkmalpfad (Zollverein Heritage Trail), the Route der Industriekultur (The Industrial Heritage Trail) and the Portal der Industriekultur (Portal of Industrial Heritage) in the coal washing plant.
Since its opening on the 9th January 2010, together with the European Capital of Culture RUHR. 2010, the Ruhr Museum developed into a tourist attraction. Over 400.000 visitors were counted in the first year. Also in the future the Ruhr Museum is going to focus on its two main cultural tasks: Education and Tourism.