The Museum devotes its activities to the close interaction between art and technology in the 19th century, based on a concept that is unique among German museums.
It seeks interesting themes particularly in the realm of photography, in the artistic and medical beautification of the human body, the romanticization and concurrent industrialisation of the river Rhine, the peculiar juxtaposition of telepathy and telephony, also the (re-)discovery of Egypt in the 19th century or the park as a city’s green lung – i.e., in the history of mentalities where art and technology frequently overlap. Many self-evident aspects of life today are rooted in that invention-rich century: in addition to photography and telephony, there is the automobile, the railway, bank notes, and also social “inventions” like the nuclear family or compulsory education. Biannual themed exhibitions illustrate the many ways in which the 19th century is still topical and close to us today. The fringe programmes accompanying the exhibitions include workshops for children, readings and lectures, and complement the lively encounters a century in which Humboldt and Napoleon, Marx and Rothschild, Nietzsche and Bismarck, Liebig and Daimler lived and worked.
The Museum forms part of the Culture Centre LA8, also opened by the GRENKE Foundation in March 2009 in the historical property on the so-called Museum Mile, or Lichtentaler Allee. The main building was carefully restored and a new one added to accommodate, in a state-of-the art museum infrastructure, the Museum für Kunst und Technik des 19. Jahrhunderts.