Museum of local history
At the edge of the historical centre of town, which invites you with its numerous beautifully restored half-timbered houses built between 1600 and 1800 to do a medievally inspired stroll through the town, you will find the school, which was built in 1848/49.
Today it serves as the museum of local history of Herrstein, including a collection connected to the town's history. The exhibition in the basement informs you about geology and ancient history of the area around Herrstein.
While in other villages in the area most farms had their own bakehouse, this municipal way of having a communal bakehouse differs from the customary traditions. The reason for this is the town's centre being rather small, creating a dangerous fire hazard.
Today the old bakehouse (lovingly called „Backes“ by the locals) remains in a fully functional condition and has been added to the museum, along with all necessary equipment. Every year, at the St. Martin's Market in the beginning of November, it gets reactivated.
The fireclay bricks are heated up by a strong brushwood fire and then the bread (the original „Hunsrücker Bauernbrot“, a farmhouse bread) made out of sour dough will be baked in the traditional way.
Inside the other rooms of the „old French school“ you will find out about the history of Herrstein through original exhibition pieces, photographs, postcards and official documents. The exhibition provides a clear overview of the historical development of the place.
The biggest room of the small museum serves as space to show many details of private and commercial life of the past. Besides many exhibition pieces out of the household and agricultural life, that reflect typical things of the Hunsrück region, it is the different craftman's trades and their equipment, material and type of application that are exhibited here. In small niches, different professions like blacksmithing, construction work and shoemaking are represented. Also important in the former Herrstein were textile manufacturing (weaving) and leather manufacturing (tannery). Brewing beer was another significant factor of the local economy, but today there isn't any brewery there anymore. Same goes with the professions of ropemakers, tobacco spinners and pipe makers. Only the objects inside the museum remind us today that these were once very present in Herrstein.
The museum of local history is opened May to November on Sundays 2 pm – 5 pm and can also be visited as part of tours through the historical centre of town.