The adjoining towns of Hohenstein and Ernstthal west of Chemnitz in Saxony were formally united in 1898. Both have been associated with the manufacture of textiles over several centuries. Mining prospered in the area in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The textile industry expanded, particularly in the nineteenth century as the accessible veins of silver ore ran out. The area became well-known for producing hosiery, and the town of Oberlungwitz which adjoins Hohenstein-Ernstthal to the south was the home of Johan Emanuel Samuel Uhlig (1672-1742), the first hosier in Saxony to make stockings on machines, and of the celebrated hosiery firm of Louis Bahner, founded in 1842. The textile museum is located in a five-storey nineteenth-century mill which was occupied from 1879 by the Weber C F Jäckel company. The building was purchased by the town authority in 1994 and opened as a museum the following year. Its displays feature many aspects of textile manufacturing, particularly hosiery production and weaving on Jacquard looms.
The other theme of the museum is motor cycling. The Motorradfahrerclub Hohenstein-Ernstthal (motor cycle club) was formed in 1925 and two years later began to race on an 8.7 km. circuit on public roads that from 1937 was formally called the Sachsenring. The circuit came to be acknowledged as the principal venue for motor cycle racing in Germany, but by 1990 the increased power of motor cycles was considered to make racing on public roads through villages too dangerous, and a new 3.67 km. closed circuit was laid out on which the most important races in Germany still take place. The museum has extensive displays of motor cycles and of other artefacts and images that depict the history of the Sachsenring.