The International Newspaper Museum has been in the Große Haus since 1931. The museum is based on the collection of the Aachen-born private scholar Oskar von Forckenbeck (1822-1898), who on his journeys had collected first and last editions as well as anniversary and special editions of international newspapers. Even prohibited newssheets were part of the collection. In spite of his pioneer work for the later discipline of media science, Forckenbeck has received little recognition. Today, his collection comprises about 200,000 newspapers from the 17th to the 21st century. It is unparalleled anywhere else in the world and parts of it can be viewed in digital form.
In 2011, the International Newspaper Museum reopened as the station "Media" on the Route Charlemagne. The station commemorates Charlemagne's cultural reforms and especially the establishment of a standardised and legible script. It was only because of this reform that books and letters could actually become media, transporting news and knowledge to all corners of his empire. The impact of the "Carolingian miniscule", the uniform script introduced by Charlemagne, is still evident in our media today, for it laid the foundation for our modern lower-case letters.
Visitors experience a multimedia museum that links the history of newspapers in an intriguing way to basic questions of our media society. It illustrates how events are turned into news. Historical newspapers document how the newssheets of the 17th century evolved into mass media. Radios and televisions chart the rise of the electronic media. Not only the culture of media use is explored, but also the history of censorship and of media abuse. The exhibition also covers questions about the future of the media. What media technologies are visible on the horizon? Will they change our culture and our society?
The museum has a reading room with interesting exhibits from the collection and a comprehensive library on the history of media. There are also rooms for temporary exhibitions.