Ruhr Museum

Sign of the Times

The picture of the Ruhr Area is primarily shaped by the experiences and opinions of its inhabitants. They are attached to specific objects that refer to key experiences in their lives and are connected to central events in the history of the Ruhr Area. Together these make up a contemporary collective memory of the living population of the Ruhr Area.

By contrast, the natural objects on display serve to connect processes, events and past life forms in geology and natural history which go back millions of years. Thus two layers of time emerge — human and natural, subjective and objective, brief and unending — linked in an almost incomparable manner by the process of industrialisation.

These layers tell us about the geological prerequisites for the industrialisation, and also about the living and working conditions in the Ruhr Area, and peoples’ experiences of childhood, youth and war during the industrial era.