© René Pech


Special exhibition "Lower Silesia on the Move

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On 15 September 2023 at 7 p.m., the Silesian Museum in Görlitz will open the new special exhibition "Lower Silesia on the move" on Silesian industrial history along the Silesian Mountain Railway from Görlitz to Waldenburg (Wałbrzych). The railway line, opened in 1867, enabled and promoted the upswing of numerous trades, such as the production of handkerchiefs, precious lace, blueprint cloth, porcelain or new types of furniture.

The mountain railway was not only the most important means of transport for products from Silesian factories between Görlitz, Hirschberg (Jelenia Góra) and Waldenburg (Wałbrzych), but from the end of the 19th century it was also one of the innovation test routes for electric operation. The exhibition shows commercial and industrial products from places along the railway line as well as numerous railway models, photos and documents from the line.

Characteristic and also unusual products from the multitude of commercial and industrial branches with their importance extending far beyond Silesia are on display. The foundations were laid in Görlitz, where steam engines and steam turbines were produced that found buyers all over the world. In the handkerchief town of Lauban (Lubań), some 35 factories produced around 90 percent of all handkerchiefs produced in Germany between 1850 and 1945. The town proudly advertised with the slogan "Lauban wipes the world's nose".

In nearby Langenöls (Olszyna), Robert Ruscheweyh developed another special product: the extending table. He held the world's first patent for it. The factory he founded produced a 13-metre-long table for up to 50 people, probably the longest extending table in the world. An example measuring 5.25 metres can be seen in the exhibition.

Fabrics were embellished by blue printing in various places in Silesia. In Greiffenberg (Gryfów Śląski) a blueprint factory was established, which later developed into the Greiff-Werke for workwear. Much more filigree, on the other hand, are laces made by hand over days, true little textile marvels. In the Hirschberg area, this textile art flourished from the end of the 19th century until the 1930s, sponsored and promoted by Princess Daisy von Press. She herself maintained several top schools in Hirschberg (Jelenia Góra) for a time, from which a previously unseen collection is now presented in the Silesian Museum in Görlitz.
The expansion of the railway also made it possible for hordes of tourists to discover the idyllic Giant Mountains. Hikers and skiers always took home a piece of holiday from Rübezahl's kingdom: carvings, souvenirs and all sorts of bric-a-brac.

The end point of the journey is Waldenburg, in the 19th century a dirty industrial town with numerous coal deposits and mines. The railway transported not only the "black gold" to buyers throughout the German Empire, but also the "white gold" of the region: the finest white or colourfully decorated porcelain. Numerous porcelain factories were located in the Waldenburg area, including the Carl Tielsch company in Altwasser (Stary Zdrój).

The exhibition, curated by historian Alexander Szalapski, can be seen from 16 September 2023 to 14 April 2024. A richly illustrated bilingual (German/Polish) catalogue will be published. The accompanying programme includes lectures and guided tours of the exhibition, factory tours of the Görlitz turbine factory and two walks along the Silesian Mountain Railway.

Accompanying Programme
Guided tours of the exhibition: 29.9. and 13.10. 2023, 6 p.m. Lecture on turbine construction in Görlitz, followed by guided tour

Works tours: Turbinenbau Görlitz: 23.10. | 11.12. | 12.2. | 8.4., 5.30 pm each. Lecture and guided tour of the Görlitz turbine factory, meeting point Lutherstr. 51. Info and registration for individual guided tours: innovationscampus.goerlitz@siemens-energy.com

Hiking in Silesia along the Silesian Mountain Railway. Offer for active nature lovers: 23.09.2023, Nature and Industry in the Silesian-Oberlausitz Border Region | 14.10.2023, Coal and Porcelain. Around the city of black and white gold. Registration is directly with Senfkorn Reisen, Brüderstraße 13, info@senfkornreisen.de, 03581 400520.

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Special exhibition "Lower Silesia on the Move
Brüderstraße 8
01099 Dresden

Tel.: 03581 87910

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