Technoseum, Mannheim, Germany

The Technoseum (State Museum of Technology and Work) in Mannheim in Mannheim offers a view on the industrialization of the German Southwest in history and the present. In addition, more than 100 experimental stations allow the visitors to understand the scientific and technical interrelations interactively and playfully.

The TECHNOSEUM is one of the major engineering museums in Germany. The exhibition shows 200 years of technology and social history. She stands with her experimental stations on natural science and technology for experimental comprehension with fun and amazement.

Since 1 January 2010 the state museum TECHNOSEUM is called. The new name stands programmatically for the task of the house. The TECHNOSEUM makes technical developments understandable in an increasingly complex world and illustrates its influence on the living and working conditions of the people. The opportunities and risks of modern technologies are highlighted.

The representative tour of the technological, economic and social history of the industrialization process is connected to scientific research centers in the TECHNOSEUM. The museum stands as an out-of-school learning place for experimental comprehension with fun and astonishment. The experiments provide basic scientific and technical knowledge about the historical exhibition. In addition, the TECHNOSEUM is a working museum. The visitors will experience historical workshops, factories and transport in the demonstration factory.

The museum was founded in 1990 as a public-law foundation under the joint responsibility of the state of Baden-Württemberg and the city of Mannheim. The exhibition area is around 9000 m², of which around 900 m² are available for special exhibitions. In 2013 the museum visited 183,691 people. The museum budget is € 11.1 million in 2014, of which 3.4 million are from the city and 6.8 million from the country. The management of the museum is in the hands of Prof. Dr. Hartwig Lüdtke.

For visitors who pass through the building from top to bottom, the impression of a time travel through the industrialization history of the country should be adjusted.

Exemplary stages of technical, social and political change since the 18th century are: watches, paper making, weaving, energy, electrical engineering, mobility, bionics. There are productions of residential and work places as well as machines from production, transport and office. In this way, the profound changes in living and working conditions can be experienced through to the present.

The historical inventory of the Mannheim Sternwarte is among other things in the permanent exhibition of the museum. The Zukunftswerkstatt Elementa complements the subjects and exhibits of the history of technology, economics and social life by an experimental part. Not only does it provide scientific fundamentals, it also demonstrates the technological inventions that led and led scientific experiments. In May 2011, the Elementa 3, which makes future technologies possible through experiments, was opened.

The focus of the collections is the technology and its impact on the life and work of the people in all social strata. The range stretches from machines to motorcycles to a complete Aene-Emma shop. Another major concern is science and medicine. Collecting also always means documenting a development, therefore, objects of the recent past and the present also enter the collections. The collection activity is divided into six sections.

The TECHNOSEUM is a living museum: the steam engine takes a loud whistle and the museum train is already going through the exhibition into the Museumspark. Paper is scooped on the paper and the rotary printing machine is just started in the printing department.

Paper Mill:
Whether it is the Kollergang, the Dutch or the spindle press: even if the paper mills were extensively equipped with machines and systems from the second half of the 19th century, some important handgrips could not be mechanized easily. Thus, the sheet preparation was carried out manually for a long time, and the paper was removed from the paper by the side.

With original machines TECHNOSEUM shows the production of handpacks. From pulp or waste paper, a pulp is prepared in the colling between the rotating runners. A round screen machine processes it into a paper web and winds it onto a roller in several layers. The cardboard sheets produced in this way are removed by hand from the machine, pressed in a stack-wise manner, and are individually suspended for drying. Hydropower was the most important source of energy for paper production – as can be seen in the powerful waterwheel of 1892, which can be seen in the TECHNOSEUM and has a diameter of six meters.

In the nineteenth century, there were a few small weaving mills in the German south-west, which were responsible for the population in their respective regions. The mechanical hemp and linen weaving from Elzach in the Black Forest, presented by TECHNOSEUM, is an example. Its founder Franz Xaver Störr (1833 – 1895) came from a weaver’s family – and as usual in rural regions, a piece of arable land belonged to the property and together with the craftsmanship ensured the existence of his family.

In 1876 Störr built a house and set up a mechanical weaving mill on the ground floor. The family ran the weaving itself, if necessary with the aid of trained workers from the environment. It was only thanks to the cooperation of the family members and the associated low labor costs that the small business could exist at all. The family Störr ensured the weaving a modest prosperity – and this for generations and into the 1980er years inside.

The railway was a fundamental driving force for the industrialization process: it transported people and goods faster, cheaper and on a larger scale than any other means of transportation previously available. Formerly great distances could be overcome at once, and the city and the country moved closer together, but whole regions also grew stronger. And not only that: the uniform time within Germany is also a consequence of the railways. As late as 1893 different times were used in individual areas – to establish binding timetables and to ensure safe rail traffic, standardization was necessary.

The stations were at this time gates to the world. At TECHNOSEUM, you can feel the same: With the entrance into the architecture of a station hall, visitors are already transported into a traveling atmosphere. And if you want, you can also take a ride out into the park with the “Eschenau” museum locomotive.

Steam engine:
Since the beginning of the 20th century, electricity has developed into the most important form of energy for mankind. Above all in larger cities and in low-flow areas, steam power plants were still used in the early days of the electricity supply. Where the free resource water could not be used and coal could be delivered easily, the conditions were ideal.

The piston steam engine, which can be seen at TECHNOSEUM in demonstration operation, was built in 1908 by the Maschinenfabrik Esslingen for the Waggonfabrik H. Fuchs in Heidelberg-Rohrbach and sold to the company Döllken & Co. in Essen in 1920. There she was still in use until the 1980s – although only since the beginning of the 1960er years only as a reserve. The machine is an example for the “island operation” of the companies that generate electricity for the self-supply – this is also typical of the early years of the power supply, in which there was not yet a nationwide interconnection network.

The museum building was designed by Berlin architect Ingeborg Kuhler – after winning the architectural competition. The planning and construction period lasted from 1982 to 1990. The building is kept white. Viewed from the outside, the individual floors look like oblique planes. Behind this is the concept of the “working” museum. This means that the building should act as an invitation to migrate through the social and industrial history of the German Southwest in a downward spiral of “space-time”.

The museum shows its structure as a refined shell. However, this does not apply to the construction of the head in the west. The main part of the building consists of a steel skeleton composite structure with concreted double T-supports and beams which, despite heavy loads and large spans, ensure the necessary load bearing capacity and stiffness.

The museum ship of the Technoseum is located in the Neckar below the Mannheimer Kurpfalzbrücke. The historic paddle-wheel steamer is an exhibition itself and also houses the exhibition of inland waterway transport. The former Rhine excursion steamship is open daily from 2 pm to 6 pm for visitors. From May to October the police boat invites on Sundays and public holidays on the Neckar.