Previous special exhibitions

Glückauf und Ugur Ola

"Glückauf" and "Ugur Ola"

Turkish miners between Zonguldak and the Ruhr region

31 October 2014 - 12 April 2015

Mining in the Ruhr region has been attracting labour from great distances for a long time. Since the 1960s many miners and mining apprentices have come from Turkey – specifically from the Zonguldak region, the centre of Turkey's coal industry on the Black Sea Coast – through a recruitment agreement. The memories of these former miners are at the centre of the exhibition. They tell their story and supplement it with private photos and documents. The exhibition is a collaboration between the German Mining Museum in Bochum and IFAK e.V. – Association for Multicultural Children and Youth Services – Migration Work that looks back on 40 years of experience in intercultural work. It received support from the Zonguldak Kultur- und Solidaritätsverein e. V. (Zonguldak Culture and Solidarity Association) in Gelsenkirchen. The exhibition is bilingual, in German and Turkish.

Schrumpfendes Holz, wachsendes Eisen

Shrinking wood, expanding iron

An exhibition about the KUR project "Mass discoveries in archaeological collections"

28 October 2014 - 25 January 2015

Anyone who has always been interested in archaeology and wonders why the collections contain so little wood, or how centuries-old iron can be returned to its splendent lustre, is cordially invited to this special exhibition.

Archaeological wood and iron are especially difficult to preserve: Although they sometimes last for millennia in the ground, they often begin to deteriorate immediately after their recovery. Wood shrinks and breaks if it is dried in an uncontrolled manner; iron shatters almost in slow motion due to the voluminous corrosion that begins in its interior.

This problem has been studied as part of the KUR research programme, a programme for the conservation and restoration of moveable cultural assets. The exhibition “shrinking wood, expanding iron” taken on by the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven introduces the problems surrounding the archaeological materials of wood and iron, as well as the various approaches to solutions discussed in the project for the first time in a manner comprehensible to laypeople.

Sonderausstellung - Keine Kohle mehr

Keine Kohle mehr (No more coal)

Special exhibition featuring the photography project of Thomas Stelzmann and Wolf R. Ussler

17 April - 30 July 2015

By the end of 2018, an era of Germany history will end: Germany’s subsidised hard coal mining industry will be over.

For their photography project Keine Kohle mehr (“No more coal“), Thomas Stelzmann and Wolf R. Ussler, both from Düsseldorf, brought ex-coal miners back to the sites of their former mines and created images of these scenes. Their life stories form the essence of the photographs these artists have compiled and analysed. The stories reveal the realities and events that shaped the lives the people in the photographs and which often brought them meaning.

Ussler and Stelzmann frequently worked against the clock: many photos were taken just before or even as the mines were being demolished. Literally in the final minutes, the last images of a work site were snapped amidst the demolition equipment, where once thousands of men toiled for their daily bread. The goal of the photography project is not simply to document and preserve a memory of an industrial culture and its impact on the people that is virtually over. The project also aims to convey the structural changes taking place as the mining landscape makes way for a new one. .

Sonderausstellung - Gesichter des Bergbaus

Gesichter des Bergbaus (The faces of the mines)

A showcase exhibition featuring the works of Jürgen Post

3 May - 28 June 2015

The closure of “his mine” hit Post, a coal miner, hard. Even though he no longer works in the pits, mining continues to shape his life.

He photographed scenes from the mining industry and edits them using Colorkey technology. His photos present the faces of the mines and tell the stories that life could not have written.

His images make plain what mining and its abrupt end means for the Ruhr region and allow the viewer to experience a piece of contemporary history.

150 Jahre Westfälische Berggewerkschaftskasse
																																				 und DMT-LB

150 Jahre Westfälische Berggewerkschaftskasse und DMT-LB


“Glückauf, der Steiger kommt!” – “The foreman’s coming!”, announces the traditional miners’ song. But where is he coming from? The mining school, of course!

1864 saw the founding of the Westfälische Berggewerkschaftskasse (WBK, Westphalian Miners’ Union Fund), the central training and scientific institution of the Ruhr mining industry. This was later succeeded by the DMT-Gesellschaft für Lehre und Bildung (DMT-LB, German Mining Society for Teaching and Training). Besides training for foremen and apprentices, and a programme of study for engineers, the WBK and DMT-LB dealt with the scientific foundations of mining in the Ruhr district, from research on explosions and the identification of different types of coal to surveying the world (from a mining perspective). The intellectual heritage of the Ruhr mining industry is still alive today, in the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum and the Technische Fachhochschule Georg Agricola, which are both funded by the DMT-LB. We will be presenting a special exhibition to mark the 150th anniversary of the WBK/DMT-LB.


Silberpfade zwischen Orient und Okzident

Silver paths between Orient and Occident


Charlemagne and Harun al-Rashid. Two charismatic medieval rulers, two major powers, two leading figures of a new era. For all their differences, there are also many parallels between the two: their structures, forms of government, and canons of values. Both rulers mark a high point for the peoples of their empires, not just in terms of power politics, but also in terms of civilization.

Between Aachen and Baghdad – 5000 km apart – a brilliant, dynamic tapestry of arts and sciences unfolds. Within the framework of the exhibition, the silver mining industry is used as an example to show different technologies which can be found at the same time in the Frankish and Abbasid empires. For example, while Frankish miners in Melle (France) used fire-setting to extract minerals, the Persian miners in ar-Radrad (Yemen) used only hammers and picks.

A comparison between the two technological and social contexts allows us to draw conclusions about the historical development of silver mining from an archaeological perspective.

Wertvolle Erde (Valuable Earth)

Valuable Earth - The treasure under the ground


The travelling exhibition “Wertvolle Erde” is dedicated to geological raw materials and the way they are formed, and to the prospecting, extraction, use and recycling of those reserves which the earth has to offer.

The exhibition answers many questions: How are geological raw materials formed, and over what period of time? How are they searched for and found? How and where are they extracted today? What methods can be applied to make rational, effective use of deposits? Where are geological raw materials, especially ores, used in industry, and how can these raw materials be reused in a way that makes sense?

Zukunft leben! Die demografische Chance

Zukunft leben! Die demografische Chance
(Live the future! The demographic opportunity)


In the 'Science Year 2013', the Leibniz Association's exhibition "Zukunft leben – Die demografische Chance" (Live the future! The demographic opportunity) gave a vivid impression of how demographic change will affect our lives.

On the basis of researchers' findings and their proposed solutions, the nine sections of the exhibition showed how we will learn, work, create families, grow old, and live in the future.

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Unbekanntes Kasachstan - Archäologie im Herzen Asiens

Unbekanntes Kasachstan - Archäologie im Herzen Asiens
(Unknown Kazakhstan – archaeology in the heart of Asia)


For many years, the DBM has been running a joint project with Kazakh colleagues, mainly on ancient copper and tin mining in Kazakhstan. This was the inspiration for the exhibition.

850 m2 of exhibition space were used to portray an extraordinary country: a wide variety of landscapes, friendly people, and many different cultures covering thousands of years of history. More than 1000 original exhibits from 6000 years of history, flown in directly from Kazakhstan, clearly illustrated the cultural wealth of this huge country. Various multimedia presentations allowed visitors to take a more in-depth look at the topic, or to simply drink in the beauty of the country and its culture.

Schätze der Anden - Chiles Kupfer für die Welt

Schätze der Anden - Chiles Kupfer für die Welt
(Treasures of the Andes – Chile's copper for the world)


Here the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum used around 800 m2 of space to present a spectacular exhibition, the result of a nearly ten-year-long, highly successful collaboration with the Chilean mining company CODELCO (Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile), a global player.

Copper mining in Chile is on a massive scale, unlike anything seen in Europe: it currently supplies nearly 40 % of the copper used globally.

The main focuses of the exhibition included the modern copper mining industry in Chile, the economic importance of Chilean copper mining, the town of Sewell, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the successful rescue of the 33 trapped Chilean miners in 2010.

Auf breiten Schultern - 750 Jahre Knappschaft

Auf breiten Schultern - 750 Jahre Knappschaft
(On broad shoulders - 750 years of Knappschaft (miners' unions))


The exhibition took visitors on a journey through 750 years of life and work for qualified miners (Knappen) and other mine workers. The narrative arc went from the leather shoe of a miner from around 1000 AD to a staging of the current debate about the risks of health information sharing for patient privacy ("der gläserne Patient").

Glück Auf! Ruhrgebiet - Der Steinkohlenbergbau im Ruhrgebiet nach 1945

Glück Auf! Ruhrgebiet - Der Steinkohlenbergbau im Ruhrgebiet nach 1945
(Coal mining in the Ruhr after 1945)


Glück auf! Ruhrgebiet – "Glück auf" is the traditional German miner's greeting, and can roughly be translated as "Good luck". This special exhibition underlined the particular importance of the coal-mining industry for the Ruhr. Coal was the motor for the reconstruction of Germany after the Second World War, and thus made a crucial contribution to the development and prosperity of our country.

This chronologically structured exhibition combined perspectives based on history, economic policy and technology.

Die Grubenkatastrophe von Courrières 1906

Die Grubenkatastrophe von Courrières 1906
(The mining disaster of Courrières, 1906)


The 10th of March 2006 was the 100th anniversary of the mining disaster of Courrières (Nord-Pas-de-Calais), in which 1099 miners lost their lives. This was one of the worst disasters in the whole history of mining.

German and French historians marked the occasion from a "transnational" perspective, with an exhibition in the Martin Opitz Library in Herne, and an academic conference from 17-19 March 2006 in the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum.

Das Schiff von Uluburun - Welthandel vor 3000 Jahren

Das Schiff von Uluburun - Welthandel vor 3000 Jahren
(The Uluburun shipwreck – world trade 3000 years ago)


In 2005 our museum celebrated its 75th anniversary. The occasion was marked with a special exhibition about the supply and trading of raw materials in the Late Bronze Age, with a focus on the eastern Mediterranean region and its cultures.

The starting point for the exhibition was the cargo carried by a merchant ship which sank over 3300 years ago off the Turkish coast near Uluburun, and which provided unique new insights into Late Bronze Age trade.



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