Ruhr Museum

History of the Museum

The history of the Ruhr Museum began more than one hundred years ago with the foundation of a  Museum Society in Essen in 1901. The Society was organised first and foremost by the Historical Society for the City of Essen and Essen Abbey (Historischer Verein für Stadt und Stift Essen) and the Krupp Educational Society (Krupp’scher Bildungsverein). The museum opened its doors to the public on 4 December and initially focused on art, local history, natural history and ethnology, and was one of the first museums in the Ruhra area. It was located in the city centre of Essen in the old post office at Burgplatz.

After the municipal art collection was moved in 1911, forming the core collection of the subsequent Museum Folkwang, the "City of Essen Museum for Local History, Natural History and Ethnology" was established. It had always been the intention to expand and include an industrial museum that represented the industries of the Ruhr area.

By 1927, the collections had grown to such an extent that the museum decided to relocate to the former home for unmarried Krupp workers at Essen-West station. In 1934, the museum changed its name to "Ruhrland-Museum". The fatal decision to separately house local historical collections in the "Haus Heimat" established by the National Socialist regime in 1937, resulted in the extensive destruction of historical artefacts. In 1954, the museum re-opened in the Knaudt Villa in Bismarckstraße and was further extended with the completion of a new building in 1964.

The Ruhrlandmuseum and the Museum Folkwang formed the Essen Museum Centre in Goethestraße from 1984 to 2007.

The museum was transferred into a completely new structure on 1.1.2008. Today, as the Ruhr Museum Foundation with a new funding body and at a new location, it presents the Zollverein World Heritage Site, as well as the natural and cultural history of the entire Ruhr area.