Ruhr Museum


The photographic collection of the Ruhr Museum considers itself as a visual memory for the Ruhr area. The collection was first started in 1989 and ever since it has been presented in various exhibitions and was continuously enriched. It is now the region’s largest and most important archive of historical and contemporary photography, encompassing images of its landscapes and cities, people, work and leisure time, daily life and celebrations. The collection, consisting of approximately 4 million negatives and several ten thousand photographic prints and slides, include the photographic bequests from Ruth Hallensleben, Willy van Heekern, Josef Stoffels, Anton Tripp, Marga Kingler and Peter Kleu. It also features the works of renowned photo journalists and professional photographers from Ludwig Windstosser and Albert Renger-Patzsch to Bernd and Hilla Becher, Timm Rautert, Michael Wolf, Brigitte Kraemer, Manfred Vollmer and Joachim Schumacher. The photographs cover photography from the earliest experiments in the 19th century to contemporary digital imaging, concentrating mainly on the 1950s and 1960s.

The collection is open to all interested parties and is used by scientists and the media, other cultural and educational institutions as well as anyone who wishes to learn more about certain aspects of the region past and present. Significant parts of the photo archive have been online since 2009. Interested parties can search the image database (, view images and place orders.

The photo archive cooperates with numerous other local photo archives – for example the archive of the Emschergenossenschaft and the Lippeverband, the Stadtwerke Essen and the Pixelprojekt Ruhrgebiet.