The Stadtmuseum Iserlohn has gained an excellent reputation since its inauguration in 1987. It is part of the Valleys Route along the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) and is judged to be one of the outstanding sites of industrial heritage in Westphalia (WasserEisenLand). The building housing the Stadtmuseum was constructed around 1720 and was converted in around 1819 to become a Prussian armoury. In May 1849 it was stormed and thus became a central location of the revolutionary rebellion in Iserlohn.
The museum's exhibition is designed as a round tour. Three storeys display town and territorial history that in large parts reflects Protestant Reformist Prussian administration, economic and military affairs.
The "European Museum of the Year" competition distinguished the Stadtmuseum in 1989 for the realisation of this concept.
Ore production and hydropower favoured the pre-industrial success of Iserlohn. Life in the town was characterised by wire production and processing, brass and bronze processing, the establishment of the needle industry as part of Prussian economic policies as well as trading in silk and draperies. Iserlohn merchants sold their products as far away as China.
Iserlohn tobacco boxes are especially renowned. In 1755 Frederick II awarded the copper engraver J.H. Giese a monopoly for the production of tobacco boxes with use of his brass rolling process. Initially decorated with biblical, hunting and society depictions as well as town views, scenes reflecting the fame of Prussia dominate during the time of the Seven Years' War. From the 17th to 19th centuries the history of the town and its industry reflects its allegiance to Prussia (interrupted only between 1806 and 1813).
The main collection focus of the Stadtmuseum Iserlohn is the economic and industrial history of the town and region as well as exhibits reflecting social history.
Many prestigious buildings in Iserlohn were the former commercial and residential houses of successful Iserlohn merchants. These thus testify to the commercially oriented economic policies of Prussia.
The building of the Stadtmuseum itself must primarily be mentioned in this respect, that was taken over in around 1819 by the Prussian financial authorities and converted to become an armoury.
The Von-Scheibler-Haus, constructed in 1773 by the drapery merchant Rupe, today houses the Städtische Galerie.
The historic Maste-Barendorf group of factories founded in the early 19th century for brass processing is now an industrial heritage memorial of national importance.
The "Iron Cross" memorial was erected in 1816 in the Iserlohn town district of Grüne in remembrance of Iserlohn men who fell in the Napoleonic Wars.
The optical telegraph on the Fröndenberg was operated from 1833 to 1849 and then destroyed by rebels in 1849 during the revolutionary unrests. The Stadtmuseum set up a reconstructed telegraph mast at its original location in 1996.