The museum, founded in 1886, is characterised by the diversity of its collections. Egyptian art, pre- and early history, city history, European craftwork, 20th century art, as well as contemporary art are presente.
The craftwork collection includes items from the Middle Ages to international contemporary design. Works by prominent expressionist artists such as August Macke and Christian Rohlfs are witness to Westphalia‘s contribution to art movements of the 20th century. A further focal point of the collection is German Informel.