The Ruhr Museum is located in the former Coal Washing Plant of the Zollverein coal mine, Shaft XII in Essen. It has existed since 1 January 2008 as a dependent foundation within the Zollverein Foundation under the sponsorship of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the “Landschaftverband Rheinland” (Rhineland Regional Association) and the City of Essen. As a regional museum, it presents the entire natural and cultural history of the Ruhr area in its permanent exhibition. It does not see itself as a classic industrial museum, but as a memory and showcase of the Ruhr Metropolis.
The Ruhr Museum has extensive collections of natural history, archaeology, history and photography, which are essentially based on the collections of the former Ruhrlandmuseum of the city of Essen. They are constantly being increased and thematically expanded, especially with regional reference. 25.000 selected items can be seen on tours in the Ruhr Museum's display depot at the Zollverein Coking Plant. In addition to the permanent exhibition on the nature, culture and history of the Ruhr area, the Ruhr Museum regularly shows temporary exhibitions, also on topics that do not relate to the Ruhr area.