The Südsauerlandmuseum, located in the heart of Attendorn’s Old Town, has its roots in the collecting activities of the town’s Association for Local History (today’s Verein für Orts- und Heimatkunde). Established in 1898, it is the oldest museum in the District of Olpe and one of the oldest museums across Westphalia. Using multimedia technologies and contemporary resources, it presents the art and culture of Southern Westphalia and the District of Olpe. The natural science section portrays the primordial oceans and the Ice Age in today’s Sauerland. Further topics include the history of the Duchy of Westphalia, as well as Rural Life, exemplified by a milling estate near Kirchhundem.
The Popular Faith (Volksglauben) unit illustrates how, in times of hardship, people tread the often narrow path between faith and superstition. Fortresses and castles along the Bigge and Lenne rivers, as well as privileges such as hunting, document the life of nobility. Ancient crafts and the marksmen’s association are topics of interest in the history of Attendorn. The museum also presents the culture of the convents, the contacts to the world, for instance maintained by the Hanseatic merchants, as well as precious treasures of the church that bear witness to the sophisticated art of gold and silversmithing from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. Last but not least comes the Westphalian Pewter Figurine Exhibition.