#36 Textilmaschinendepot at Museum Schloss Rheydt

My name is Claudia Eißing and I would like to adopt the Textilmaschinendepot at Museum Schloss Rheydt.

Tell us a bit more about yourself
I live in Mönchengladbach, in Germany, and in my leisure time I work as a volunteer on various projects as well as enjoying reading biographies, preferably with a cat on my lap and a cup of tea within reach *smile*

Tell us a bit more about your adopted museum
The Textilmaschinendepot at Museum Schloss Rheydt, is housed off site in a retired textile factory, of which there are many is this area. It probably helps to know that Mönchengladbach used to be called Little Manchester, an allusion to the industry that people here lived off, i.e. textile manufacture in all its variations. The Depot is only open on certain dates (roughly every 6-8 weeks on Sundays), which are announced in the local press and via the Museum Schloss Rheydt itself. Visits to the Depot take place via a guided tour, and there is only one per date limited to a maximum of 15 people, which makes it even more individual. Admission is 4 Euros. Children up to age 10 go free and also receive a very special souvenir of their visit – a piece of woven ribbon from a machine they are allowed to activate themselves. You are led through the centuries by two people. Firstly an art historian, who gives very detailed and graphic explanations, from the source materials linen and wool, via the various spinning wheels, through to the diversity of historic weaving looms, so that you can literally smell the hard work of a poor weaver’s family who endlessly worked away at their spinning wheels and looms. Then industrialisation followed, and with it even more hardship and dependency on employers. Here the second guide takes over, an experienced textile machine operator who has taken it upon himself to explain the modern and accordingly loud machines. The engines worked faster and faster, and the production of fabric kept increasing. The weaving of patterns, one seen as an innovation on specially designed looms, is now managed by computer driven processors.

Why have you chosen to adopt this museum?
In my eyes, what makes the museum depot so unique is the total contrast between old and new technology, and the knowledge that progress (in this case) only helped few people to become rich but led many more into great dependency. This really fascinated me, and I think it’s important to know where your roots lie if you are reaching for the stars. It’s also really interactive, and touching is allowed almost everywhere throughout the museum. You can get behind a spinning wheel, operate the spools and the fly-shuttle, and discover that it really was no fun having to do this hour by hour, day in day out, with limited natural light.

Why would you recommend people visit?
I continue for several pages, that’s how enthusiastic I am about the work that is being carried out here. I can only recommend everyone dedicate a couple of hours to this unique museum. I am sure no one will be disappointed. The museum guides are very helpful and knowledgable, happy to answer questions, and openly pleased when people show interest. In short, I want to share my enthusiasm for this museum with everyone.

How would you sum up your museum in three words?
Informative, enjoyable, enthralling!

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