Current special exhibitions

Past special exhibitions

Empor aus Nacht zum Licht - The Revolution 1918/1919 in Wuppertal

21.01.-15.03.2019, Rathaus Elberfeld

The end of the war, the revolution, the founding of the republic, the first democratic local elections and the imperial constitution: the years 1918/19 have left their mark on history and yet have not always been sufficiently appreciated, but have always been controversially discussed.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of all these events, the Bergische Volkshochschule, the Museum Industriekultur Wuppertal and the Bergische Geschichtsverein, Wuppertal branch, supported by schools and associations, have created a programme that highlights the various aspects - in particular also the local historical events - of the revolutionary year. These are viewed from very different angles: political and democratic history, but also educational and cultural history. The protagonists of this long "forgotten revolution" will have their say, as will the controversies surrounding the possibilities and limits, conflicts and contradictions of this historical turning point that made possible the first parliamentary democracy in Germany, the Weimar Republic. Many of the events illustrate the revolutionary events using local examples and thus tell chapters from the history of the emerging democracy in Wuppertal from different perspectives.

Prof. Dr. Jochen Johrendt / Bergischer Geschichtsverein, Dr. Detlef Vonde / Bergische VHS, Dr. Lars Bluma / Museum Industriekultur Wuppertal

Curator of the special exhibition: Reiner Rhefus (Museum Industriekultur Wuppertal)

Märkte, Maße und Moneten / Markets, Measurements and Money

15.04. - 31.08.2018, Museum für Frühndustrialisierung


The exhibition illustrates the development of monetary and commercial transactions in the 18th and 19th centuries and the increasing importance of money for economic activity. It shows the overcoming of the fragmentation of the German economic area and the standardisation of currencies and weights in the Deutsche Zollverein.

This is the last special exhibition of the Historical Centre before the temporary closure of the Museum of Early Industrialisation.

Technische Paradiese: Die Zukunft in der Karikatur des 19. Jahrhunderts

08.10.-10.12.2017, Historisches Zentrum Wuppertal

The great technical innovations of the 19th century - the steam engine, the railway, photography, telegraphy and the automobile - spread relatively quickly and extensively through everyday life at the time. Starting in the big cities and the early industrial factories, the novelties soon reached the countryside, the rivers and the coasts. The acceleration of production processes and travel routes had such a profound impact on the population that the perception of space and time changed fundamentally. People reacted to the new machines with a mixture of fascination, surprise and fear. At the same time, these new inventions stimulated the imagination of contemporaries, and visions of the future emerged that ranged from paradisiacal conditions to dystopian forecasts of the enslavement of humans by machines.
Caricature was the perfect medium to document the tense relationship between man and machine in humorous and critical drawings. Published as single-sheet prints, in newspapers or satirical magazines, they soon became available to a large audience. The more caricature became a mass medium through high print runs, the more it owed its own success to the machines, namely the constantly improved printing presses.
In the special exhibition, the Historisches Zentrum Wuppertal shows the great names of 19th century European caricature, such as George Cruikshank, Grandville, Honoré Daumier and Albert Robida, and how they commented humorously, but also critically - between surprise and apprehension - on the technical achievements of their time.