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The collections of the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas explore changes in Finnish working life and social history.

The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas is a national specialed museum that has nationwide responsibility on the themes of social and labour history in Finland. The museum’s collections explore the emergence and development of Finnish civil society.

The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas’ collections document the history of working life, trade union activity, the labour movement, the cooperative movement, and other popular movements. The museum collects materials about gender and sexual minorities and the environmental movement. In addition, the collections also include the Finnish Museum of the Deaf’s collections on the history of sign language and the Lenin Museum’s collections on the history of Soviet relations.

Altogether, the collections contain about 60,000 objects and 360,000 photographs. In addition, the museum’s collections include library materials, printed publications, and archive materials. The oldest materials date back to the early 19th century, and the most recent materials to the 2020s.

Werstas is the only museum in Finland that collects objects and other materials on the following topics:

  • Consumer cooperatives and businesses
  • Finland’s relations with Russia/Soviet Union
  • Trade union movement
  • Developing country movement
  • Feminism
  • The political labour movement
  • Anti-racism
  • The peace movement
  • The environmental movement
  • Sexual and gender minorities
  • Working-class culture
  • Sign language
  • Quality of working life
  • Occupational safety
  • Unemployment
  • Soviet tourism
  • Lenin and Finland

Cooperation and history services

Werstas collaborates with other museums, labour heritage institutions, and scientific organisations. We also collaborate with various communities by helping them conduct historical reviews, surveys, and jubilee exhibitions.

Internationally, Werstas is part of the global network of European labour heritage institutions and labour museums. Werstas participates, for example, in the work of the Worklab and IALHI networks. Werstas also collaborates with the networks of the Lenin Museum and the Finnish Museum of the Deaf.

Read more about IALHI

Werstas actively cooperates with Finnish labour heritage institutions. Among other things, Werstas participates in the publication of the Finnish Labour Studies Yearbook published by the network of Finnish labour heritage institutions, and the annual summer seminar of the Finnish Society for Labour History is held at Werstas every year.

Labour heritage institutions in Finland

People’s Archives (Kansan arkisto)
The Library of the Labour Movement (Työväenliikkeen kirjasto)
Finnish Labour Archives (Työväen arkisto)
The Finnish Society for Labour History (Työväen historian ja perinteen tutkimuksen seura)
The Commission of Finnish Labour Tradition (Työväen muistitietotoimikunta)
The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas (Työväenmuseo Werstas)
The Finnish Labour Heritage Association (Työväenperinne – Arbetartradition ry)

Documenting rainbow history

The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas is responsible for the nationwide documentation of the history of Finnish gender and sexual minorities. Werstas is the only museum in Finland that houses an LGBTIQ+ collection.

Collections on Anti-Racism

Anti-racist activism is part of Finnish social history. Do you have something that should be included in the collections on anti-racism in Finland? The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas wants to act as a memory of multiethnic, polyphonic society.

Eternalise your work in a photo!

The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas collects photographs depicting Finnish working life in the 2020s. Taking photos of regular workdays and everyday work situations is important!

Please make sure you upload the photo in full size. If you want to send multiple photos, please contact our Head of Collections Leena Ahonen: if.oe1713388799sumne1713388799avoyt1713388799@neno1713388799ha.an1713388799eel1713388799