We are the DDB: The German Mining Museum Bochum

The Deutsche Bergbau-Museum Bochum – founded in 1930 – is one of eight research museums of the Leibniz Association. The history of the extraction, processing and use of geographic resources is researched, conveyed, and preserved across epochs. The research areas include: Archaeometallurgy, Mining History, Materials Science, Coal and Steel Archaeology as well as the Research Laboratory and the Coal and Steel History Documentation Centre (montan.dok). Their research projects – often in cooperation with renowned university and non-university institutions as well as partners from culture and science – have (inter)national relevance and impact.

Visitors can take four tours through the permanent exhibition: Hard coal, mining, mineral resources, and art thus convey the range of the Leibniz-Forschungsmuseums für Georessourcen (Leibniz Research Museum for Georesources). More than 3,000 exhibits - including objects from the Montanhistorischen Dokumentationszentrum (Mining History Documentation Centre) of the Deutsche Bergbau-Museum Bochum, loans, and new exhibits - will be presented for the four tours from different points of view. With its permanent exhibition, the Deutsche Bergbau-Museum Bochum is taking on the challenge of presenting the content and results of its own research in an exciting, educational, and informative way and addressing the diverse target groups with various educational offers. Whether as an interactive game, multimedia mediation station, children's track or hands-on exhibit - the contents of the permanent exhibition are to be communicated in a sustainable way.

Handstone with mining representations from Banská Bystrica in today's Slovakia, c. 1730, Montanhistorisches Dokumentationszentrum (montan.dok), Bochum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International)

About the picture: The handstone, composed of numerous mineral specimens - including amethyst, pyrite, cinnabar ore, quartz, galena, chalcopyrite, malachite, fluorspar, barite, bismuth ore and solid silver - Composite handstone is a vessel designed to hold spices or essences. A pictorial representation and typical art chamber piece from the 17th/ 18th Century, the handstone represents the social-cultural objects of the collection, in this case the class-bourgeois sphere.

With the demonstration mine and the rope-driving simulator, the insights into the many facets of mining in the Deutsche Bergbau-Museum Bochum are also conveyed underground. On the 1.2 km long underground route network, visitors get an impression of everyday life underground and of the technical and historical developments in (hard coal) mining. From the winding tower of the former Germania colliery, the largest exhibit in the house, the view finally extends far over the Ruhr and the region shaped by the colliery landscape.

The museum's offer is supplemented by changing special exhibitions. Thematically, these range from mining archaeology and mining history to the social examination of the extraction, processing, and use of geo-resources. In addition to communicating the research results of its own research departments, the institution also takes on exhibitions from partner museums.

Safety lamp developed by Sir Humphry Davy (so-called Davy lamp), Great Britain, ca. 1820-1825, Montanhistorisches Dokumentationszentrum (montan.dok), Bochum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International)

About the picture: In 1815 Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) presented an innovative lamp design. With the so-called Davy lamp, a device was developed that heralded the era of the mining safety light. The Davy lamp is based on a fine wire net that closes around the flame, preventing flare-ups from igniting outside the oil lamp. Davy has since been regarded as the inventor of the mining safety lamp. The lamp was selected as a representative of the mining technology collection. The Deutsche Bergbau-Museum Bochum preserves one of the world's largest and most important collections of mining lamps in the museum collections of the montan.dok, from which numerous items can be searched online or in the Deutschen Digitalen Bibliothek (German Digital Library).

Montanhistorisches Dokumentationszentrum (montan.dok)

The Montanhistorische Dokumentationszentrum – for short montan.dok – at the Deutsche Bergbau-Museum Bochum has been combining the museum's object collections, the written sources of the Bergbau-Archivs (Mining Archive) Bochum, founded in 1969, and the holdings of the library and photo library since 2001.

The genesis of some of the museum object collections goes back to the 19th century. Based on a cultural studies collection concept, they range from large-scale technical equipment and working materials to mining uniforms and coins and stamps with mining themes. In total, they amount to around 350,000 objects.

Dräger rescue device model 1904/09 for helmet breathing developed for use underground, 1904, Montanhistorisches Dokumentationszentrum (montan.dok), Bochum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International)

About the picture: What looks like a diving suit at first glance is a respiratory protection device, one of the earliest and most successful life-saving tools in mining. Mine defences, the rescue troops in mining, were equipped with them to be able to rescue miners who had been injured. Many miners owe their lives to equipment like this. The object stands for the field of mining technology and here for the collection of mining rescue equipment. It is one of the largest and most important collections in the montan.dok.

The Bergbau-Archiv Bochum (The Bochum Mining Archive) is the central sector archive for the mining industry in the Federal Republic of Germany. With more than 350 holdings, 33 special archival collections and a document area of around seven shelf kilometres, a unique collection is preserved here.

The library contains about 85,000 volumes, mainly on mining topics. The library also has a photo library with about 150,000 photos.

In all three areas, staff members continuously save and develop mining history sources.
The montan.dok is thus not only the memory of mining, but also the most important site for collection-related mining research, which is accessed by national and international researchers. Its well-developed research infrastructure therefore contributes significantly to fulfilling the DBM's mission as a research museum of the Leibniz Association.

Coal extraction by means of a mining hammer in the Prosper coal mine, 1934, montan.dok stereophotograph collection, photo: Verein für die bergbaulichen Interessen im Oberbergamtsbezirk Dortmund (Association for Mining Interests in the Dortmund Upper Mining District), Montanhistorisches Dokumentationszentrum (montan.dok), Bochum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

About the picture: The "Photo Collection Stereophotographs" was established as early as the 1930s in the then Bergbau-Museum and was expanded again and again until the 1980s. The foundation was apparently formed by the acquisition of a good 600 photographs from the Verein für die bergbaulichen Interessen im Oberbergamtsbezirk Dortmund for the presentation of selected photos in specially made box panoramas. They were intended to give museum visitors an insight into the inaccessible working world of the miner, although this insight naturally primarily reflected the view of the industry held by the mining functional elites and the photographers they commissioned.

The holdings of the scientific collections of montan.dok can be viewed worldwide via the online database at www.montandok.de.

In addition, montan.dok carries out numerous research projects in the fields of mining, technological, social, and economic history, collection research and digitisation. The research projects are dedicated to the analysis of developments in mining history, primarily in the period of industrialisation. The main focus is on economic and business history as well as the history of institutions, mentalities and culture - so far mainly on the basis of written and audiovisual records.

For more information on the range of services and the scientific projects of the Montanhistorisches Dokumentationszentrum, please visit: www.bergbaumuseum.de/montan-dok

Cable excavator for overburden removal in opencast lignite mining, c. 1930-1945, montan.dok stereophotograph collection, photo: Verein für die bergbaulichen Interessen im Oberbergamtsbezirk Dortmund, Montanhistorisches Dokumentationszentrum (montan.dok), Bochum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

About the picture: This stereophotograph is one of more than 2000 historical stereophotographs preserved in the montan.dok photo library. The digitisation of these holdings was made possible by the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek as part of the "NEUSTART KULTUR" (RESTART CULTURE) project of the Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media -BKM). 

To all objects of the Deutschen Bergbau-Museums Bochum