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Early Industrialization in Wuppertal

Exhibition design & realization
Historical Center Wuppertal, Museum for Early Industrialization, 2004, 2011

The Museum for Early Industrialization, despite its presentation of many historic tools and machines, does not consider itself as a museum of pure technology, but rather as a social and economic history museum. The core focus of the exhibition is the period from 1750 to 1850.

Divided into six sections, the museum leads you through the history of early industrialization in Wuppertal: energy, time – the new dimension, textile technology, private life and work life, politics and infrastructure, and child labor.

The diverse media offerings in Wuppertal include, among other things, interactive terminals with touch-screen monitors, audio stations, movies, and slide shows.

In the multimedia room “Factory”, visitors can experience factory work at first hand: 16 square meters give a simulation of the inside of a textile factory. Filmed in England, images on two large screens (4 x 2,5 meters) show the steam engine and the spinning and weaving machines of Quarry Bank Mill, an English textile factory near Manchester. The deafening clatter of machinery, the high room temperature, and a computer-controlled vibrating floor in the closed space simulate the monotonous and extremely dangerous working conditions in a textile factory at the beginning of industrialization.

Our media app “Steampower” is an integral part of the overall presentation of Wuppertal’s new Museum of Early Industrialization. In addition to the technical aspects of steam power, its effects on the labor process, the social fabric of the people, and the environment come to the fore. With the use of animations, cartoons, newly captured footage, and graphics, the Wuppertal textile factory Hammerstein has been virtually recreated. Five stations can be visited: the spinning and carding room, the directorate and the steam house, and a fisherman on the Wupper River. Visitors listen to the working people, take part in their experiences, and can actively use what they have learned by playing a game.

For more information:

From horse to steam engine- Entrance area of the exhibition
Immigrants on their way to the Wupper valley, media station, 1st floor
Ground plan: 1st floor
History of textile technology: film installation, 1st floor