There has been ribbon-weaving in Großröhrsdorf, near Dresden, since the seventeenth century. It remained a mainly domestic industry until the early nineteenth century, when larger workshops were established. In 1855 the factory of Johann Gottfried Schöne introduced steam-powered looms. By 1960 there were 26 companies in the town. These combined under nationalization to create the largest ribbon producer in Europe, with 5,000 employees. Since privatisation, many mills continue in the town.
The museum was opened by the council in 1998. It is housed in an impressive four-storey mill, built in the 1890s as part of the J. G. Schurig company. A film introduces the history of ribbon weaving in the region. Schurig’s steam engine of 1896 still has the connected generating equipment that allowed it to power electric looms. Demonstrations are given on over 15 fully functioning looms, including a jacquard and a huge belt-loom of 1920. Numerous samples of products show the uses of the textiles not just in decorative ribbons but in window blinds, jewellery, belts, dog leads, seat belts and straps.