The Museum

The LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur unites 1000 years of
art, ranging from the early Middle Ages through to the present.
In total the LWL-Museum’s collection comprises over
350 000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings and
prints, coins and objects as well as 135 000 books. About 1300
exhibits are on view in the new presentation of the collection.
While exploring the 51 exhibition spaces, visitors encounter
works of art by Heinrich Brabender, Lucas Cranach the Elder,
Franz Marc, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, August Macke, Otto Piene,
Richter and Rosemarie Trockel, amongst many others.
The museum’s roots lead back to the early 19th century: in
1825 the Verein für Geschichte und Altertumskunde Westfalens
(Historical and Archaeological Society of Westphalia) began
establishing a museum collection and concurrently, from
1836 onwards, the Westfälischer Kunstverein began running
an art museum. The two collections were merged in 1908 as
the new Landesmuseum für die Provinz Westfalen (Regional
Museum for the Province of Westphalia).


The LWL-Museum is one of the major museums for art and cultural history in North Rhine-Westphalia. It was founded over 100 years ago as a symbol of civic commitment. It was co-founded by the Westfälischer Kunstverein (Westphalia art society) and the Verein für Geschichte und Altertumskunde Westfalens (the society of Westphalian history and antiquity studies). As a result the art and cultural history of Westphalia are one of the museum’s major points of focus. Today the museum is an institution belonging to the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (Westphalia Lippe regional authority). The collections display 1000 years of Occidental culture from the Middle Ages through to the present day. Our exhibition and collection policy locates Westphalian art and cultural history within its European and international context. The major exhibitions of both historical and new art, as well as cultural history within a European framework, and together with the Skulptur Projekte which have been taking place once every ten years since 1977, in particular provide the institution with an international profile. We regard our work as a contribution to the cultural identity of Westphalia within a Europe of regions, while being mindful that identity emerges from the experience of origins, history and cultural relations. At the same time the Landesmuseum contributes to the national and international reputation of the region.

The History of the Museum

  • From 1825 onwards the Historical and Archaelogical Society of Westphalia had a museum collection.
  • From 1836 to 1902 the Westfälische Kunstverein (Westphalian Art Society) maintained its own art museum run by volunteers.
  • In 1908 the “Landesmuseum für die Provinz Westfalen” (The Regional Museum for the Province of Westphalia) was opened in a building by the architect Hermann Schedtler from Hannover.
  • Since 1951 the Konrad von Soest Prize has been awarded biannually to an artist either born or working in Westphalia.
  • 1974 the extension building designed by the architect Hans Spiertz was opened.
  • The first edition of skultpur projekte 1977 exceeded the boundaries of the museum’s exhibition spaces.
  • In 1980 the Diepenbroick Portrait Archive coprising more than 100,000 portrait prints was acquired.
  • In 2009 the old extension building was demolished.
  • In 2014 the new building opened. The international architectural competition selected the submission by Volker Staab Architectural Office, Berlin, as the winning design.

Staab Architects

In 2005 the Staab architectural office based in Berlin won the architecture competition to (re)construct the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur. Staab’s work in recent years has included numerous museum projects such as the Neue Museum in Nürnberg, the renovation of the Albertinum in Dresden, as well as the chancery building of the German Embassy in Mexico and the service centre on Theresienwiese in Munich.

Further information can be found on their website