The Ruhr Area grew and expanded based on its coal production. More than 300 years ago the first lumps of "black gold" were mined on the banks of the river that gave its name to the complete region. At the Nachtigall Colliery in the Witten Ruhr valley we accompany you back in time to when horizontal tunnels were driven into the banks for coal mining and when the first shafts into the depths were constructed. As one of the first underground coal mines in the district the colliery experienced peak times around 1850 with an annual coal output of 100,000 tons. A tour through the Nachtigallstollen visitors' mine is one of the highlights of your museum visit.
The Nachtigall Colliery in Witten in its exhibition documents how Prussia characterised mining activities on the Ruhr via its regulations, civil servants and authorities and also with its force of innovation. This on the one hand led to extensive regulations in the mid-19th century such as the obligatory naming for collieries but also launched the introduction of social insurance for the miners. On the other hand Prussia forced the expansion of the transport sector. The model of the Bergisch-Märkische railway from 1871 and the "Central-Locomotiven-Werkstatt Witten" flag from 1867 give life to the Prussian history of railways. On the open-air site the model of a coal ship reflects the history of shipping on the Ruhr and the impact of the Prussian Ruhr shipping directorate on e.g. the construction of locks.