The Regional History collection includes pictures of all kinds related to Westphalian history and culture. Its origin dates back to the foundation of the Münster branch of the Westphalian Association for Patriotic History and Antique Research (Verein für vaterländische Geschichte und Altertumskunde Westfalens) in 1825.
The collection became independent in 1934 after the establishment of the State Museum for Pre- and Early History (Landesmuseum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, today’s LWL Museum für Archäologie located in Herne), and the museum has regularly held its own historical exhibitions since 1965.
The collection’s main groups of exhibits are views of Westphalia, building plans, maps of the region, portraits, drawings and engravings, weapons, stove plates, and stained glass figuring coats of arms. A number of these items are related to major historical events such as the Münster rebellion of the Anabaptists, the Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years’ War in 1648/1650, the Napoleonic Wars, and the revolution of 1848/49.
Numerous pictures in the collection reflect the Westphalian aristocratic culture of the 17th and 18th centuries. One of the most significant figures of this period was Baron vom und zum Stein, a statesmen who played a key role when Germany was experiencing deep upheavals in 1800/1815. His ideas on local and regional self-government, in particular, are still influential today for the organisation of the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe, the museum’s umbrella organisation. (Cappenberg Castle, a branch of the LWL Museum located in Selm near Lünen, hosts the permanent exhibition “Baron vom Stein and Cappenberg”.
The temporary exhibition “1648 – War and Peace in Europe” (1648 – Krieg und Frieden in Europa), held in 1998/99 in cooperation with the Council of Europe, formed the basis of the Westphalian Peace Research Centre, a separate department of the LWL Museum. This exhibition, developed by an international team of scientists from various disciplines, presents the cultural and political contexts of the Thirty Years’ War and the Peace of Westphalia.