The story why I felt I had to visit the Bergisches Museum für Bergbau, Handwerk und Handel – the Bergisches Museum for Mining, Craft & Trade, is quite a funny one. In my review posting about Schloss Burg in Solingen, I also wrote about the Bergisches Museum at that place. However, while doing social media promotion for my posting, I marked the wrong museum, i.e. this museum. Of course, I had to say sorry by having a look at their exhibitons. Here is my museum review.
Bergisches Museum – Location and Admission
The Bergisches Museum (Bergisches Land is a region Northeast of Cologne) is located in the heart of Bensberg, a borough of Bergisch Gladbach. The beautiful Bensberg Castle is just a short walk away from the museum. There are paid parking lots in front of the museum. There is also a bus station nearby, Bergisch Gladbach Bensberg Rathaus, bus lines 455 and 457. If you come from Cologne, tram line 1 is terminating just a few hundred meters away (Bensberg station).
Adult admission to the museum is three Euros. The museum is opening Tuesday to Friday, 9:00 to 14:00 hrs, and Saturdays, Sundays and on bank holidays from 11:00 to 17:00 hrs.
Bergisches Museum – The Museum
I would split your museum visit into three parts. You start your visit in the main building, which hosts the key overview of typical traditional crafts in the Bergisches Land region. The upper floor also shows a nice section about a very typical craft in the past, mining. From there you head down to the basement of the museum building, which hosts a beautifully reconstructed mine. After you have visited this part, you head outside to a small open air museum with historic houses.
The very first room I visited hosted a large model of Castle Bensberg in the middle with displays about all craft involved around the walls of the room. The professions were explained and to most of them, there were some characteristic tools or similar items. The museum thus started very illustratively and with a lot of information. The next part of the museum explained the characteristic architecture styles (and the corresponding crafts) of the Bergisches Land region.
From that part onwards, the museum lead more towards displays about traditional lifestyle in the region. On the one hand, this means that there were traditional household items in display – on the other hand, there was a very nice and detailed description how flax is woven and finally leads to cloth.
A whole Floor about Mining
So far, you took some sort of round trip through the ground floor. As a next step, I headed upstairs. The whole floor was dedicated to the mining history of the region. The key products were silver, iron and lead, but there were also a few coal mines. This part of the museum is excellent, it describes the mining locations, but also the way the mines have been driven and expanded (e.g. the delivery of fresh air into the long and deep tunnels. There are some historic vehicles and machines, but also quite some pictures, which illustrate these processes. Unfortunately some displays (e.g. statistic charts) feel slightly outdated. The visit of this floor ends at the elevator which takes you to the mine (see below).
Bergisches Museum – Basement Mine
The artificial / reconstructed mine may take the least time of your visit – but this does not at all mean you are having a poor time in the virtual underground. This area is compact, but very wisely designed and very illustrative. It also hosts quite a bunch of historic machines, vehicles and other items used for mining in that region. I did not know too much about the Bergisches Museum before I visited – and this part of the visit definitely amazed me.
Bergisches Museum – Outdoor
You leave the mine and enter the backyard / garden area of the museum, which features a couple of historic buildings. The buildings are not only representing typical architecture styles of the region and life in Bergisches Land villages, but majorly show traditional workshops for crafts like smiths. I visited the museum on a beautiful sunny morning, so that I really loved to stroll around this place. The Bergisches Museum also runs a small traditional garden in their premises.
Bergisches Museum – Services
The staff was super-friendly and welcoming. The museum runs a small gift shop at the entrance. In addition, I really loved the small library located in the mining section.
Bergisches Museum – My View
I am really glad I made that mistake on social media. I would have likely not known about the Bergisches Museum for Mining, Craft & Trade at all without it. The museum is a lovely hidden gem. The staff is very friendly and the museum is much larger than I expected it. If you are around and have some at least 90 minutes time, it would be a shame if you would not give it a try.
Museums and Exhibitions in Rhineland / Ruhr Region
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