Exhibitions and Museum Harbour
From brick-making by hand in the 1890s to manufacturing by machine. You can witness all three eras of industrialization in the brickyard park. Fascinating exhibitions on industrial heritage and technology at the original production sites give an insight into the development of the brick industry in the region.
Zehdenicker Brick-Making Area - the largest in Europe
Can you imagine that this green landscape was once characterized by smoking chimneys, rattling field railways and steaming excavators? In 1887, clay was accidentally discovered during the construction of a railway bridge. In just a few years, the region developed into the largest brick-making area in Europe. The various exhibitions in the brickyard park’s authentically preserved buildings and workshops tell the story from the founding days of the 1890s to the closure of the last brickyard in 1990.
The expansion of the Havel waterways during the last century provided the ideal conditions for brick-making in Zehdenick. Each brickyard had its own harbour or sheet pile wall on the Havel. For over a century, almost all the bricks were transported by ship, which is why they still say today that “Berlin was built out of a boat”. The original Finow-Maßkahn is still in the park´s museum harbour and Carola, the museum ship from Zehdenick, is a prominent guest in Mildenberg during the “Märkisches Dampfspektakel” and “Faszination Technik” events.
"Bricks for Berlin" Multimedia Exhibitions in Ring Kiln III
Discover where the saying “Berlin was built out of a boat” came from. There are two exhibitions here: In the old burning tunnel you will find out why it is said that Berlin was built out of a boat and how hard the work was in the brickyard. Old documents and the latest technology enable you to fast-forward through the history of the Zehdenick brick industry from 1890 to 1960.
Impressive Friedrich Hoffmann Exhibition in Ring Kiln III
With the invention of the ring kiln, it became possible to produce the building material for the emerging city of Berlin continuously and in large quantities. You can find the exhibition on the burning platform in ring kiln III.
Here everything revolves around the life of Friedrich Hoffmann, a master builder from Berlin, and his groundbreaking invention. In 1858 he registered the patent for his ring kiln. This was the beginning of the industrialization of brick production. Gain an impression of this pioneering invention!
The Old Workshops
It was usual for each brickyard to have its own workshops for the various tasks. Here in the brickyard park, there is a blacksmith’s shop, a locksmith’s shop and a wheelwright’s shop. The special thing about the old workshops is that almost all the machines were transmission-driven. This made it possible, using belts and shafts, to operate several machines from just one steam engine.
Preparing the Ingredients
In the old preparation area, the clay was mixed with other materials to form a homogeneous mass, from which the bricks were then formed. Twelve clay cutters, as the machines that mixed the materials were known, were used, making the preparation area the largest in the region. In the brochure “Streifzüge – Gründerzeiten. How a brick is made … ” (available in German) you will find out everything you want to know about brick production and also about the old preparation area.
The Brickyard Barracks "auf ziegelei"
In its heyday, more than 5,000 people worked in the Zehdenick brick-making area. The majority of them were migrant workers. Find out more about the life of the brickyard workers at this exhibition. It’s not just about work. The workers knew how to party, be it at the annual “Zieglerball” or in the old “Zieglerklause” inn. The exhibition is located in the old brickyard barracks, where the workers used to live. The exhibition “Zehdenicker Ziegeleirevier” also illustrates vividly the cultural heritage of the region.
Mechanized Brick-Making in the GDR
This multimedia exhibition demonstrates how hard it was to work for the state-owned company during the GDR era.
The stories and anecdotes of workers at the brickyard have left indelible marks. In addition to sound and light installations, a tour of the exhibition includes a special highlight for visitors of all ages. Walk through the burning tunnel in the ring kiln, holding a glowing brick in your hand. The color of the brick will change, depending on the temperature in the tunnel.