As part of a comprehensive renovation and modernisation programme for Engels-House and the "Museum für Frühindustrialisierung", the exhibition buildings of the Historische zentrum are being upgraded and refurbished. For this purpose, the permanent exhibition in Engels-House, Reddehase's shed and Kannegießer's factory was vacated. Due to the gradual development of the museum over the past forty years, the building parts have grown solitary. It is therefore necessary to bring together the different historical building parts under one overall concept. Therefor, the relationship between the buildings is to be redefined by connecting them through a central visitor centre.
The Engels-House from 1775 is an ideal-typical example of bourgeois building and living culture in the age of early industrialisation. Its special character as a historical building is one main part of the new concept - as a walk-in exhibit, so to speak, which gives visitors authentic insights. Therefore, it is planned to return the building to its historical state of construction. By upgrading the functionalities, the Engels-House will continue to present a permanent exhibition on the life and work of Friedrich Engels. On the one hand, the Engels-House offers information on the life history (family, education, professional and private life) of Friedrich Engels as an entrepreneur and practitioner of modern economic activity. On the other hand, the presentation of the development of technology, economic and social history places the biography in the context of industrialisation.
The permanent exhibition in the Museum of Early Industrialization is to be realized as part of the comprehensive modernization and renovation program (further development of the Historical Center). The Wuppertal is shown as an early pioneer region of industrialisation on the European continent. The prerequisites, process and consequences of industrialisation (technical, economic, social and ecological) are the leading themes of the new special exhibition, which will trace the specific path of industrialisation in Wuppertal. The aim of the permanent exhibition is to convey Wuppertal's early history of industrialisation in a broad historical context.
Visitors should be enabled to make connections to contemporary problems through historical reflection. The permanent exhibition thus performs an important bridging function, mediating between the past and the present and providing orientation knowledge for the future. Some historical devices and machines are kept ready for operation and demonstrated to visitors in order to make their functioning comprehensible and understandable. In this way the visitors get a fascinating impression of the historical working methods and can do their own work. Due to the building's statics, the majority of the machines will be presented in a bundle on the ground floor of the shed. The permanent exhibition is supported by the Landschaftsverband Rheinland.
On the ground floor of the Kannegießer factory, a café/bistro with an attractive outdoor area and a museum shop will be available to visitors in future.
The municipal building management (GMW) has submitted a new design for the connecting building of the Historische Zentrum. The visitor centre will be connected by glazed walkways with the Engels-House and the "Museum für Frühindustrialisierung". In addition, it will have three storeys on which the various functionalities will be distributed. For example, the foyer is separated from the event area - which makes it possible to use both at the same time. "With its airy foyer, the building will have great transparency and offer insights into the historical museum buildings." explains GMW architect Stefanie Hentrich. In terms of energy, the new entrance will be state-of-the-art: With intelligent, externally installed transparent sun protection made of metal mesh, with a green roof and maximum energy efficiency. In addition, it will be barrier-free in every respect - with ramp, lift and a guidance system for the visually impaired.
Lord Mayor Andreas Mucke is enthusiastic about the new design: "GMW and its creative colleagues thought about it, and this great solution came out of it. The new design for the museum foyer supports and stages the building ensemble without putting itself in the foreground. Our Historical Centre will thus be upgraded overall and attract more visitors. And: The costs will be kept within reasonable limits!" A relief also for the head of the Department of Culture: "This means that we have a new, modern entrance situation for the Historische Zentrum", explains Matthias Nocke. Nothing now stands in the way of the new presentation of the permanent exhibition. Museum director Dr. Lars Bluma also welcomes the new design - both in terms of functionality and aesthetics.