Industrial Heritage Science

In order to fulfil the core functions of a museum with a primary focus on technology, we have to answer questions about the material preservation of cultural artefacts made of a wide variety of materials. Research on this area is not concerned solely with objects from our own museum. Development and evaluation projects offer scientific services relating to the conservation and protection of (mainly) industrial heritage sites, and their adaptation to new uses.


Research projects

Modern imaging techniques in the conservation of historical monuments

Modern imaging techniques in the conservation of historical monuments

The rapidly advancing development of digital sensors is opening up new paths in the imaging and representation of monuments and museum objects for research, documentation, monitoring and controlling.

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Testing of new imaging techniques: mining in Castel-Minier, France

Testing of new imaging techniques: mining in Castel-Minier, France

astel-Minier – near Aulus-les-Bains in the Pyrenees – is regarded as probably the largest and most important French mining area of the late Middle Ages and early modernity. Iron, steel, silver, copper and lead were extracted and processed here. ...

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Project on the preservation of mining history evidence on the original site: The Malakoff towers of the Ruhr

Project on the preservation of mining history evidence on the original site: The Malakoff towers of the Ruhr

During the industrialization of the Ruhr in the second half of the 19th century, the mining industry saw the emergence of a type of headframe which would come to have a special place among European monuments: the “Malakoff towers”. These monumental brick structures were superseded from 1875 onwards by steel headframes, and thus represent a type of structure whose development is complete.

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Conservation measures in line with heritage protection standards on an industrial monument: Prosper II

Conservation measures in line with heritage protection standards on an industrial monument: Prosper II

Since 1998 the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum has provided academic support for work on the ‘Malakoff Tower’ (a distinctive type of fortress-like shaft tower) above the former pit Prosper II in Bottrop, which is being converted to a new use in line with heritage protection standards. Today this site has become one of the city’s foremost cultural venues, inspiring efforts to put the other sites in the surrounding area to new uses as well. ...

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Project on the preservation of mining history evidence on the original site: the Henrichenburg boat lift

Project on the preservation of mining history evidence on the original site: the Henrichenburg boat lift

The Henrichenburg boat lift, inaugurated in 1899, is – in terms of the history of technology – one of the most important hydraulic engineering structures in the region, and is still the largest structure on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. Since 2010 we have been helping the LWL-Industriemuseum to document the stone surfaces in line with heritage protection standards. ...

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The preservation of the saltpetre mining sites Santa Laura and Humberstone in Chile (UNESCO World Heritage Sites)

The preservation of the saltpetre mining sites Santa Laura and Humberstone in Chile (UNESCO World Heritage Sites)

hile has the richest deposits of saltpetre in the world. They are located in the north of Chile in a roughly 700 km strip of land in the Atacama Desert. The extraction of salts from the nitrate strata (known as the caliche salitrero) began in the early 19th century, flourished in the middle of the second half of the 19th century, and reached its peak between 1900 and the end of the First World War. ...

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Completed projects

Conservation and restoration techniques for the preservation of composite objects with high proportions of elastomers and other synthetic materials (rubber materials).

Conservation and restoration techniques for the preservation of composite objects with high proportions of elastomers and other synthetic materials (rubber materials).

High-polymer materials – especially rubber – up to and including fully synthetic plastics, have now found their way into all areas of our lives. For many museum collections they now constitute a group of objects which are especially difficult to preserve. Decomposition and the resulting disintegration of the material lead – if not to complete loss of the object – at least to severe impairment of the object context. ...

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Subterranean townscape of Oppenheim

Subterranean townscape of Oppenheim

Below Oppenheim on the Rhine there is a 40 km system of cellars, passages and staircases stretching out under the town on five levels. The research department for information systems has documented this incomparable archaeological monument, contributed to its preservation and, after extensive restoration work, helped to prepare it for use by tourists. The accessible parts of the subterranean complex have now been successfully used for tourism for three years. ...

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Modelling of underground cavities

Modelling of underground cavities

The exploration of mining cavities is a key medium for studying the technical and economic activities of historical extractive industries. They are significant elements of all mining landscapes. Adequate surveying and representation is an important task here.

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Establishment of a geological museum at the Geological Survey & Mineral Resources Board of the Ministry of Oil & Minerals, Republic of Yemen

Establishment of a geological museum at the Geological Survey & Mineral Resources Board of the Ministry of Oil & Minerals, Republic of Yemen

Since 2003 the DBM has been studying the stone industry in Yemen, from its Sabaean roots to the present day. Our activities throughout the country soon showed the need for short-term presentation of the findings in a museum. The idea was that a museum would appeal to the Yemeni public, especially school pupils and young people, and make them aware of the raw material resources present in their country and previously largely overlooked. ...

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