Extraschicht, © www.saschakreklau.de

LWL Mu­seum Hen­rich­shütte in Hat­tin­gen

Iron is still melted down today dur­ing at the demon­stra­tion foundry

At the demon­stra­tion foundry watch as the iron is melted and then ac­com­pany your chil­dren to the play blast fur­nace – the Hen­rich­shütte Iron­works in Hat­tin­gen are more than just a mu­seum.

The LWL In­dus­tri­al Mu­seum at Hen­rich­shütte in Hat­tin­gen keeps the cen­tur­ies-old his­tory of iron and steel works alive, and with it a large seg­ment of the Ruhr Area?s his­tory. For 150 years, the blast fur­naces and cas­t­houses of the Hen­rich­shütte smelted iron and pro­duced steel. Un­til 1987, 10,000 people worked in the huge in­dus­tri­al area, rolling, cast­ing and for­ging met­al.

The blast fur­nace at the in­dus­tri­al plant in Hat­tin­gen also serves as the mu­seum?s largest and most im­port­ant ex­hib­it: it is one of the old­est of its kind to be pre­served in the Ruhr met­ro­pol­is. The per­man­ent ex­hib­i­tion, ?Der Weg des Ei­s­ens? (?The Path of Iron?) al­lows vis­it­ors to chart the course of ma­ter­i­als from ore, coke and lime in­to hot met­al. Tak­ing a lift, the path ini­tially leads up to the blast fur­nace and from there down the stairs to the cas­t­house, where mol­ten iron was once cast at 1,400 de­grees. Nu­mer­ous pho­to­graphs, films and in­ter­views are used to con­vey the work­ing lives of people who used to work at Hen­rich­shütte and how their lives de­pended on and were in­flu­enced by their work.

One par­tic­u­lar fea­ture of the In­dus­triemu­seum is the demon­stra­tion foundry, which is still used to smelt iron. This al­lows vis­it­ors to see for them­selves what work­ing with hot met­al was like at the time. The out­door areas of the Hen­rich­shütte are also worth a vis­it: After the Hen­rich­shütte was de­com­mis­sioned, nature was left to take its course, and the ?Grün­er Weg? path around the in­dus­tri­al com­plex now of­fers views of nu­mer­ous rare flowers and an­im­als, which first came to Hat­tin­gen with the raw ma­ter­i­als from all over the world. The eco-work­shop also provides vis­it­ors with back­ground in­form­a­tion.

Chil­dren can fol­low the Rat­ten­weg (Rat's Path) through the LWL Mu­seum at Hen­rich­shütte in Hat­tin­gen: here the mu­seum?s mas­cot, a blue rat, guides curi­ous little steel­work­ers through many dif­fer­ent sta­tions, where they can test their metal­work­ing skills and join in the ac­tion. A play blast fur­nace awaits on the play­ground for chil­dren to put their the­or­et­ic­al know­ledge in­to prac­tice. A gi­ant slide en­sures ex­tra fun. Guided tours for fam­il­ies with chil­dren over age six are avail­able every Fri­day even­ing and Sat­urday af­ter­noon.

As you can see, the Hen­rich­shütte in Hat­tin­gen is not just a worth­while des­tin­a­tion for his­tory buffs and those in­ter­ested in in­dus­tri­al her­it­age, but also a great place for young fam­il­ies. The mu­seum also hosts tem­por­ary ex­hib­i­tions; vis­it­ors are in­vited to look at Hen­rich­shütte Hat­tin­gen?s web­site for more in­form­a­tion.


Open­ing hours:
Tues­day - Sunday and pub­lic hol­i­days: 10 am - 6 pm
Fri­day: 10 am - 8 pm

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