The museums in Dortmund are packed with priceless collections and treasures from the history of natural science, archaeology, fine art, arts & crafts etc. With exhibits from the Middles Ages, the Classical Modern Age and contemporary movements. From the everyday world and the world of work. And from municipal history including moving documents about the local resistance against the nazi dictatorship.
One of Dortmund's largest cultural magnets is the Museum of Art and Cultural History (DE). The museum - founded in 1883 - was the first municipal museum in the Ruhr Valley. In the monument-like edifice in Art Déco style the archaeological, folkloristic and local history collections as well as those on arts and craft and design, graphic- and applied art were merged together. The result was "a remarkable balancing between a museum of art and one of social history". Its presentation reminds visitors of a chamber of art and miracles, enabling them to gaze at life's exclusive features and to learn more about urban culture and history.
Only a few minutes away on foot, you will find the Museum Ostwall (DE) with its comprehensive collection of 20th century art and the various special exhibitions which have gained it a reputation throughout Germany. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, objêts d'art, 20th century photographs and more than 2,500 prints from the Classical Modern Age to the present day. It is located in the Dortmund U (DE), a brewery building from 1926, which was turned into a creative arts centre 2010.
Whereas it is the task of the Museum of Natural History (founded in 1910) to document the past 55 million years. Awaiting the visitors here are: 150,000 insects, 30,000 minerals, stones and fossils. But by no means fossilised - on the contrary, full of life - are the inhabitants of the freshwater aquarium. This aquarium, which stocks fish from the Amazons, is one of the largest of its kind in Germany.
Economic development in the region since the 19th century is documented by a truly exceptional variety of industrial museums. The Westphalian Industrial Museum, for example, is housed in the former Zollern Colliery. Or the Hoesch-Museum, which is set against an impressive backdrop of former steelworks. Another aspect of Dortmund's identity can be explored (and tasted!) in the Brewery Museum.
Another highlight is the German Health & Safety at Work Exhibition (DASA) (GER). Under the banner of "Humans, Work and Technology", the DASA is home to the second largest technological exhibition in Germany which - in addition to a history of occupation health & safety - also presents a whole array of historical machines and numerous exhibits centred on the work environment. Car lovers should visit the Automobile Museum.
Often not given the credit it deserves, "everyday culture" is central at other Dortmund museums such as the German Cookery Book Museum (DE) and the Westphalian School Museum (DE). In the Museum Adlerturm (DE) visitors can dive into Dortmund's past during the Middle Ages. An exhibition in the Memorial Steinwache (DE), a former Gestapo prison, documents prosecution and resistance in Dortmund from 1933 until 1945. Hartware MedienKunstVerein focuses on the presentation and discourse of contemporary art, especially media art, and uses the impressive PHOENIX Halle for exhibitions and conferences.
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