Built in 1906 by the architect Friedrich Paulsen, the Haus der Essener Geschichte (Essen History Centre) accommodates the city archive with its collections dating back to the 13th century.
The beautiful old school building was restored in 2007 - this was performed during the construction of a new magazine building of the city archive with an imposing CORTEN steel façade. It accommodates archives of the city of Essen on 17 kilometres of shelves and closes the gap in the school block which was created during the war.
The permanent exhibition "Essen – History of a City in the 20th Century" is very informative and well worth seeing. It starts with Essen becoming a city in 1896 when the German Emperor visited the town council on the occasion of the birth of the 100,000th Essen resident. What is also exciting is the insight into the development of the city provided by map material of the famous city planner, Robert Schmidt. The period of the Weimar Republic focuses on the architecture of very audacious structures which were built in Essen at that time. The largest section of the exhibition deals with the Third Reich and shows the conditions in the city during that time; this is followed by the post-war period. From the period of reconstruction you can marvel at the original football used in the game between Rot-Weiß-Essen and Kaiserslautern for the German Championship in 1955. Nowadays, 80% of the workers in Essen are employed as service providers, in the early 1950s, the figure was just about one third. Another theme in the exhibition is the structural change in Essen - up to the European Capital of Culture year.
By the way: The Bismarck monument, which was unveiled in 1899, is situated diagonally opposite Bismarckplatz. Go and take a look at the Siemens office building on Kruppstraße. It is located nearby and was built by the famous Berlin architect Hans Hertlein in the 1930s!
Distance from the Essen Hauptbahnhof stop:
300 m, exit B, follow Kruppstraße to Bismarckplatz
The permanent historical exhibition "Essen - History of a City in the 20th Century" can also be viewed from June on Thursdays from 14:00 to 18:00 without a guided tour and registration.
Furthermore, free public guided tours through the permanent exhibition are offered on Wednesdays at 16:00 and on every first Sunday in the month at 15:00.
The exhibition is open for registered groups – e.g. school classes – on the other days of the week (subject to a charge).