The workers’ museum is located in the assembly house of the strong trades union movement in Copenhagen that was built in 1878-79, and remained for many decades the focus of the Danish labour movement and a meeting point for Socialists from all over Europe. The museum was established in 1982.
Parts of the building including the assembly hall have been restored to their 1913 appearance. Elsewhere displays illustrate several periods of Danish working class history. An apartment re-erected in the building was occupied by the very poor Sorensen family from 1915 when a labourer moved in with his wife and eight children, four of whom were placed with a family in northern Zealand and never returned. The last surviving daughter of the family who never married remained in the apartment until 1989. The apartment of the Petersen family illustrates the poverty of the 1930s when the husband, a bricklayer’s labourer, was unemployed, and his wife earned a little money as a charwoman. Many of the family’s possessions had been pawn. Another apartment illustrates the relative prosperity of the 1950s, particularly the influence of American culture, and the prevalence in Denmark of the habit of drinking coffee with chicory. An adjacent street scene includes a shop where radios and television sets could be bought on hire purchase. A further section of the museum illustrates the nature of industrial work. The museum includes a beer hall where visitors can sample typical Danish working-class food and drink.