in the midst of life

vk93958_Arno Hensmanns.jpgHeizlüfter »Prometheus«, 1960, MHK, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Sammlung Volkskunde, Foto: MHK, Arno Hensmanns

The 19th to the 21st century

The third floor of the Museum of Hessian History holds the department of European Ethnology, completing the tour of the cultural and regional history of northern Hesse.

The collection goes back to the 19th century, when a growing middle-class sense of national identity led to a newfound appreciation of the cultural values underlying that identity. Selected exhibits provide an insight into the everyday life of common people from the early 19th century to our time, and document the rapid change that was taking place in many areas of those lives. Machines were beginning to replace skilled manual work. New means of transport and communication such as trains and the telephone speeded up day-to-day life. Wars and oppression brought suffering and devastation before life in the newly established federal State of Hesse allowed a fresh start in democracy and prosperity. The reunification of Germany in 1989/90 left Hesse in the heart of Germany once again.

The exhibits illustrate major issues such as the struggle of normal citizens for political participation and civic liberties, the transition from artisan to industrial production processes, the social role of women, everyday life in wartime and during the National Socialist era, or major recent events in the region of North Hesse. Contemporary witnesses tell of their experiences and describe what it is that connects them to their native region.