The exhibition was about the exciting history of archaeological discoveries in Neuss. There was plenty to try out and explore, and not just for children. Not only the explorers and collectors as well as their families were thematized, but also the development of archaeological research methods and knowledge about the past were presented.
Since the 17th century, spectacular Roman finds had repeatedly been discovered in the earth in Neuss. Early on, therefore, Neuss citizens began to concern themselves with the history of their city and to research it. But it was not until the excavations of the Neuss physician Dr. Hermann Jäger that systematic archaeological research began. Jäger founded an antiquities society and in 1845 established the "Städtisches Museum für Alterthümer der Umgegend" (Municipal Museum for Antiquities of the Surrounding Area) for the finds he had uncovered. A second antiquities society with similar objectives followed in 1877, with Dr. Clemens Sels as honorary museum keeper. In 1886 Constantin Koenen from Neuss made the spectacular discovery of the long-sought Roman legionary camp. The camp, which was investigated from 1887 to 1900, is still the only completely excavated legionary fort.
In 1912, the first museum building was erected in Neuss: Pauline Sels had donated the estate of her husband Dr. Clemens Sels to the city of Neuss for the construction of an appropriate building. The core of the antiquities collection was formed by numerous archaeological finds from Neuss. After the Second World War, the focus of archaeological research changed. Scientific methods of investigation revolutionized the possibilities of knowledge. In the 1950s and 1960s, Roman Novaesium became the subject of an extensive archaeological research project. With the founding of the municipal department for the preservation of archaeological monuments in 1983, medieval archaeology became the focus of research. As a result, many exciting excavations have been carried out over the past 30 years, especially in the city center, which have permanently changed our image of old Neuss.