of East Bavaria

Mineral specimens from East Bavarian deposits give you a first impression of the diversity of colour, shape and formation of the local natural resources, which are millions of years old.


Although the minerals displayed in the exhibition are characteristic of East Bavarian raw material deposits, these specimens are distinctive due to the size and good quality of the crystals and the paragenesis with other crystals. Due to modern extraction technology and because most of the mines have been closed, it is no longer possible to recover any more minerals.


The most significant minerals in East Bavaria are displayed in the exhibition room.

Montane history

(closed due to renovation and redesigning)
Upper Palatinate – Iron centre of Europe

Due to the rich and easily extractable iron ore deposits in the Upper Palatinate, mining and iron smelting already began two millennia ago. Montane archaeological findings show ironwork from the Carolingian era, but there are also indications of smelting during the Celtic period.

The economic heyday of mining and smelting in the region lasted from the 14th to the 17th centuries. The Upper Palatinate can rightly be described as the iron centre of Europe in that period. The organisational basis for the iron trade in the Upper Palatinate was the Great Hammer Union of 1387, an agreement which bore the characteristics of a cartel. The strict regulations of the Hammer Union were also partly responsible for the downfall of the mining sector in the Upper Palatinate, however. The mining industry enjoyed a new boom with the construction of the railways in the mid-19th century.

The iron industry suffered a further decline in the 20th century. In 2002, the “Maxhütte” ironworks were shut down completely.

The miners and smelters were always acknowledged as having a special role in society that was governed by mining regulations and mining rights. Diverse customs developed from their working environment, some of which are still in place today. This is most obvious when you look at their traditional attire. There is also an area of the exhibition that is dedicated to the miners’ culture.

Raw materials

(closed due to renovation and redesigning)

Eastern Bavaria lies at the junction of two ancient continents and is also crossed by striking fault lines. This results in the geological diversity, which is reflected in the diversity of the mineral raw materials. The most important raw material for many centuries was iron ore, which was mined until 1987. The metallic raw materials gold, lead, copper and zinc also played a role.

From the beginning of the 20th century to 1981, domestic brown coal paved the way for the economic development of the region as a source of energy, especially for power generation.

The non-metallic raw materials - apart from graphite or cast stone, which were mined here 2000 years ago - only gained great importance in the 20th century. Mention should be made of fluorspar, clay, kaolin, bentonite, but also the mass raw materials sand and gravel.

Made in East Bavaria

Industry in the Upper Palatinate from 1800 to now

The exhibition consists of six chapters that show the industrial development of East Bavaria from the beginning of the 19th century to the present. It focuses on the beginnings of industry in the Upper Palatinate, its heyday, crises and booms, and also includes current developments. Many companies have provided production samples and valuable items for the exhibition from their family archives and company archives.


State-of-the-art media technology and numerous interactive exhibition elements invite you to discover new things and try them out, and give younger visitors to the museum in particular the opportunity to learn about the history of industry interactively and in a playful way.


The redesigning of the permanent exhibition has been generously sponsored by the “Landesstelle für die nichtstaatlichen Museen in Bayern” (regional department for the non-governmental museums in Bavaria), the “Landesstiftung” (Bavarian foundation) and the “Bezirk Oberpfalz” (district of the Upper Palatinate) as part of the “LEADER” grant programme.

Glass, earthenware and porcelain

(closed due to renovation and redesigning)

The first faience manufacturing companies were started in Sulzbach in 1750 and then in Amberg in 1759. The first porcelain factories were established in Passau in 1779 and Regensburg in 1803, with these being followed by another in Tirschenreuth in 1838. The earthenware manufacturers’ in Amberg, Hirschau, Reichenbach and Regensburg were predominant during the 19th century until they were completely outstripped by the porcelain factories at the end of that century. Today, the businesses are concentrated in the northern Upper Palatinate and form the centre of the fine ceramics industry in Germany together with the businesses of Upper Franconia.

The beginnings of glass manufacture, on the other hand, date back to the Celtic period in East Bavaria. There was no production of any note until the 15th century onwards, however. The centres of glass production in the Zwiesel area of the Bavarian Forest have survived for centuries, whilst in the Upper Palatinate region production of this kind did not begin until the end of the 19th century. East Bavaria still holds a pole position today when it comes to glass production in Germany.

In addition to everyday objects and ornaments, the extensive collection from East Bavaria and Bohemia shows specialties like uranium glass.