Past special exhibitions

Friedrich Engels on the stamps and coins of the world

Kontor 91, 10.11. - 28.11.2021

From 10 to 28 November 2021, an exhibition of stamps, postmarks, coins, medals and banknotes featuring Friedrich Engels can be viewed free of charge at our museum location Kontor 91 (Werth 91). This is a joint exhibition by the Förderverein Historisches Zentrum e.V., PHILAG Wuppertal e.V. and Münzfreunde Wuppertal e.V..

For about 100 years, several hundred stamps featuring Friedrich Engels and/or Karl Marx have appeared. The new approaches in the fields of philosophy, economics and politics developed by the two together have helped shape the 20th century worldwide. But even in the 21st century, the thoughts of Engels and his friend continue to be discussed. Although the countries of the former Eastern Bloc are particularly well represented, the first stamp with Engels' portrait appeared as early as 1919, for example. The stamp exhibition at Kontor 91 presents, among other things, the most beautiful pieces from Rolf Walther's extensive collection and embeds the Engels stamps in their historical context.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Views into the Past: Wuppertal in Historical Photographs

Until 28.11.2021 at Kontor 91

The new special exhibition at Kontor 91 "Views into the Past-Wuppertal in Historical Photographs" is open!

Historical photographs from the collection of the Wuppertal City Archive show fascinating views of Barmen and Elberfeld. These old city views turn back the wheel of history and allow visitors to take a historical walk through the city, transporting them back to the imperial era. Among other things, the former municipal theatre, market squares and photographs of the suspension railway and stations of yesteryear are on display. Stroll through Wuppertal around 1900!

The special exhibition is complemented by models of the Wuppertal-Achse e.V., which are kindly on loan.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Friedrich Engels - A spectre is haunting Europe

15.05.–20.09.2020, Haus der Jugend, Wuppertal

"A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of communism". This is how the Communist Manifesto of 1848, written by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, begins, to end with the militant call "Proletarians of all countries unite!"
In many other writings, Friedrich Engels grappled with the economic and social consequences and dislocations of industrialisation in the 19th century. Together with Karl Marx, he formulated a critique and theory of capitalism that is still effective today. Friedrich Engels is thus one of the most important personalities of the 19th century who have influenced history to this day.
Wuppertal is celebrating Friedrich Engels' 200th birthday with a special exhibition in the "Haus der Jugend", not far from his birthplace in Barmen. The exhibition takes a historical look at the entrepreneur, philosopher and social critic, writer and journalist, revolutionary and visionary, but also at the dutiful son, loyal and generous friend and sociable host. It describes his eventful life at the time of the "Industrial Revolution", which was to take him from Wuppertal to Bremen, Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Cologne, Manchester and London. With many exhibits, works, pictures and above all contemporary photos, events, life and work on the way to modernity are shown as Engels also perceived them. 


Responsible for the project

Project management: Dr Lars Bluma

Curatorial team: Heike Ising-Alms (lead curator), Thorsten Dette, Marina Mohr, Reiner Rhefus

Scientific Advisory Board: Dr. Anja Kruke (Archive of Social Democracy/Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung), Prof. Dr. Wilfried Nippel (Humboldt University Berlin), Dr. Regina Roth (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences/MEGA), Prof. Dr. Clemens Zimmermann (Saarland University)

Organisation and administration: Marcus Issel

Exhibit and loan management: Alexandra Barbian

Finances: Birgit Verkennis

Advertising and Merchandising: Birgit Hoseit-Veljovic

Technical equipment: Jochen Reuter, Kevin Emmerlich

Design office: Space4


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.