The exhibition LEATHER.WORLD.HISTORY. forms a cross-section of the unparalleled inventory of the German Leather Museum and presents the highlights of this extraordinary collection to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the museum’s foundation.

In four overriding thematic groups – Offenbach am Main as a City of Leather, Living with Leather, Leather Makes History and Leather Opens Up Worlds – various insights are presented into the world of leather and its different functions and design formats. With the help of 130 specially chosen sample exhibits, the presentation of the collection highlights which outstanding objects have found their way into the German Leather Museum since it was founded in 1917.

Here, exhibition items from various eras and cultures enter into an overarching dialog and open up intriguing points of cross-reference. The selection has been made with an eye on the historical and artistic significance, but also with the aim of telling stories. Hence, for example, the oldest object in the collection, an Egyptian rawhide vessel, meets one from the 21st century – a set of premium, leather-covered headphones. Other combinations include a valise owned by Pope Clement IX (1600–1669) juxtaposed with a travel bag by Saskia and Stefan Diez made from Tyvek®, a paper-like fleece material, and thus highlight the way travel accessories have changed down through the centuries. Well-known figures also feature in the exhibition: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s (1749–1832) cylindrical hat box with which he travelled during the last few years of his life, for example, meets slippers owned by Ulrike von Levetzow (1804–1899), the object of Goethe’s final unfulfilled love.

A comprehensive publication (available in German only) accompanies the exhibition, published by Kerber Verlag. This is available for purchase on site in the museum or can be ordered via e-mail at