Working-Class and Labor Museums

This is a ‘list in progress’ of museums compiled by the Center for Working-Class Studies. If you would like to add to the list, please contact the Center’s webmaster with your recommendation and a short description of the museum.

The American Labor Museum
Haledon, New Jersey
(973) 595-7953
This museum is located at the Pietro Botto house, the meeting site of strikers during the 1913 silk workers strike in Paterson, New Jersey. This museum contains regular exhibits about workers and immigrants.

American Textile History Museum
Lowell, Massachusetts
(508) 441-0440
The museum offers its “different spin on history.”

The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine
Beckley, West Virginia
(304) 256-1747
Visitors ride a “man trip” car guided through the mine by veteran coal miners for an authentic view of low seam coal mining from its earliest manual stages to modern mechanized operation.

B&O Museum
Baltimore, Maryland
(410) 752-2490
This Baltimore museum bills itself as America’s most comprehensive collection of locomotives and cars. The museum focuses on railroad technology.

The Civil Rights Institute
Birmingham, Alabama
This museum contains a display on the creation of the black proletariat, and it tells about Hosea Hudson and black steelworkers and miners. The museum is across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church.

Coppertown USA
Calumet, Michigan
(906) 337-4354
This museum, located at the site of a 1913 tragedy in which 73 people were killed, traces centuries of mining.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Lebanon, Pennsylvania
(717) 272-9711
The Cornwall Iron Furnace produced cannons for the Revolutionary War.

Debs Museum
Terre Haute, Indiana
(812) 232-2163
This national historic landmark commemorates the work of labor leader Eugene V. Debs.

Detroit Historical Museum
Detroit, MI
(313) 833-1805
This museum includes a small section on UAW history, as well as other exhibits on automotive themes.

Discover Hall and Studebaker Hall Museums
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN
(219) 284-9714
Both museums look at the role of industrial development in the area, and exhibits on the role of the worker can be found in both related museums.

Eckley Miners’ Village
Hazelton, Pennsylvania
(717) 636-2000
The guided tours at the village show the birth-to-death life of a miner.

Heinz Regional History Center
Pittsburgh, PA
(412) 454-6000
The Heinz museum is noted for its exhibits focusing on labor.

Henry Ford Museum
Dearborn, MI
(313) 271-1620
This popular industrial museum includes worker and labor history in its exhibits.

Hopewell Furnace
Pottstown, Pennsylvania
(610) 582-8773
This national historic site showcases the various components of a late 18th- mid 19th century “iron plantation.”

The Youngstown Historical Center of Industry & Labor
Youngstown, OH
(800) 262-6137
Youngstown was the site of many dramatic battles for unionization. The Industry and Labor Museum showcases a variety of exhibits including tools, photos, models of the plants, and housing conditions of workers.

Labor Hall of Fame
Washington, D.C.
Twenty-three individuals in academics, government and business (including Walter Reuther and Mother Jones) are honored at this museum.

Labor Museum and Learning Center of Michigan
711 N. Saginaw St.
(810) 762-0251
Flint, MI 48503-1729
According to UAW Local 2031 President Joe Bryan, “This labor museum is ‘every working person’s museum.'” Linda Purdy, President of UAW Local 708 explains that the purpose of the museum is to tell the story of the unions and workers.

Labor and Industry Museum
Belleville, Il
(618) 222-9430
Collections tell the stories of working men, women, and children, where they worked, and what they did. Their collection of stoves from the 1800s to 1940 support the Illinois claim of “Stove Capital.” Other industries include the building trades, bottle making, printing, and cigar making.

Lackawanna Coal Mine
Scranton, Pennsylvania
(570) 963-MINE
The conditions of mineworkers are explored at this site, and a trip to a real anthracite coal mine is included as well.

Lawrence Heritage State Park
Lawrence, Massachusetts
(978) 794-1655
Located in a former millworkers’ boardinghouse, the museum in the Park’s Visitor Center tells the story of this planned industrial city, famous as the site of the “Bread and Roses” Textile Strike in 1912, a landmark event in American labor history.

Lowell National Historical Park
Lowell, Massachusetts
(508) 970-5000
The park includes historic cotton mills, worker housing, and miles of canals (you can enjoy canal boat tours in the summer).

Michigan Iron Industry Museum
Neguanee, Michigan
(906) 475-7857
This museum takes a look at the Michigan iron industry.

Minnesota’s Labor History Interpretive Center
St. Paul, Minnesota
The Minnesota Labor
Interpretive Center is an organization dedicated to the understanding of the nature and impact of work–on people and on the state they are helping to build.

Museum of Science and Industry
Chicago, Illinois
(773) 684-1414
This Chicago museum includes a reconstructed coal mine.

The National Civil Rights Museum
Memphis, Tennessee
(901) 521-9699

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall and a number of historic buildings related to the Memphis sanitation strike are a part of the complex.

Pioneer Tunnel
Pottsville, Pennsylvania
(507) 875-3850 or (507) 875-3301
Take a trip into the inside of a coal mine that was operational until 1931. In addition, the Pennsylvania Museum of Anthracite Coal Mining is a short drive away.

Pullman Village
Pullman, Illinois
(773) 785-8181
The 1894 strike is explained in detail at this site.

Saugus Iron Works
Saugus, Massachusetts
(781) 233-0050
This national historic site was the first ironworks with a blast furnace in North America.

Scranton Iron Furnaces
Scranton, Pennsylvania
(570) 344-4993
This location features the remains of the Lackawana Iron and Steel Company.

Sloss Furnaces
Birmingham, Alabama
(205) 324-1911
This is a national historic landmark dedicated to the furnaces and the people who worked there.

Tannehill Ironworks
McCalla, Alabama
(205) 477-5711
Slaves built and worked at this complex which, at its height, turned out more than twenty tons of iron a day for the Confederacy.

Western Museum of Mining and Industry
Colorado Spring, Colorado
(719) 488-0880 or 1-800-752-6558
This museum tells the story of mining in the pre-1940s West.