{Denmark} A Worker’s Life at the Arbejdermuseet

April 4, 2014

Kids in Museums, Denmark

As I have mentioned before, we spent last Christmas in Copenhagen and fell in love with some of its fantastically family-friendly museums. One of those I have not yet written about, is the Arbejdermuseet or in English ‘Worker’s Museum’. It was opened in the early 1980s by the trade unions and is housed in the union movement’s old village hall which dates back to the 1870s. The main focus of the museum is to show what everyday life for Copenhagen workers was like over the last 150 years.

Arbejdermuseet Entrance

Arbejdermuseet Television

What makes this such a wonderful place for families, are the new interactive exhibits which opened a couple of years ago on the lower level of the museum. Here, children can explore life in Copenhagen at the turn of the 20th century, with lots of things to touch and try. One room, for example, contains dollhouses from different periods, to show how living spaces have evolved over time. Whilst parts of the dollhouses are closed off and just for looking, others are open and invite little visitors to play. There’s even a dollhouse sized garage with cars, which of course delighted our little motorhead. Other rooms invited children to dress up in costumes from different periods, peddle a delivery bicycle, or learn some dance steps. And in the ‘beer factory’ you can discover just how tricky it is to spot faulty beer bottles on a fast moving conveyer belt!

Arbejdermuseet Dressing Up

Arbejdermuseet Bottle Factory

But the highlight of the museum for  families, has to be the series of recreated rooms where children can role play to their heart’s content. We spent quite a lot of time in the grocery store being served by #MuseumBaby, who just couldn’t get enough of the old fashioned till. Other rooms include a dance hall, a pawnbroker’s and a union office where you can answer the phone and type notes on an old typewriter.

Arbejdermuseet Grocery Store

Arbejdermuseet Old Till

My personal highlight, was being served ‘lunch’ by my personal little museum guide in the museum’s vintage kitchen. Long time readers of this blog may remember Melanie, who has guest blogged here before including sharing her recommendations for Copenhagen. Her son is a year older than #MuseumBaby, and we’d arranged to meet them at the Worker’s Museum so they – or more precisely he – could show us round. He was so excited about being my museum guide, it was utterly adorable. And of course, it warmed my heart to see such enthusiasm for a museum at such a young age.

Arbejdermuseet Play Kitchen

He also rather cheekily sent me out to the backyard to check out the outhouse, and watched from the window as I unsuspectedly opened the door. I won’t give the game away, but I promise it will make you jump!

Arbejdermuseet Outhouse

Arbejdermuseum Street

The exhibitions continue on the upper levels in the 1950s, with a street row of different shops and a car workshop, then move on to a series of interior room settings. In contrast to the lower level, these shops and rooms are all closed off and #MuseumBaby lost interest after a while, but until then we did have some fun peeking in to shop windows and seeing what we could spot in the different rooms. The museum had also made up a quiz with questions to encourage children to look more closely at what they were seeing – #MuseumBaby was very proud when he correctly answered a question that involved counting cars! – and they even got to choose a little prize at the end.

Arbejdermuseet Car Workshop

Arbejdermuseet Kitchen

All in all, this was a wonderful museum. We could quite happy have spent hours in the downstairs section, playing with dollhouses and cars, colouring in, dressing up, playing shops and dancing. And while our visit of the upper levels was more of a whistle stop tour, older children with a longer attention span, and adults, would get a lot more out of those too. It was the only museum we visited in Copenhagen where we had to pay an admission fee, but it was well worth the money.

Arbejdermuseet Living Room

Opening Times: open daily from 10am to 4pm, except at Christmas and New Year.

Admission: 65 DDK, concessions available. Children under age 18 go free. Free entry also for ICOM members.

Pushchair Policy: Pushchairs are not allowed to be taken in to the museum, as the spaces are very narrow, but you can park them safely in the cloakroom area.

Photography: Photography for personal use is allowed in the permanent exhibitions, without a flash or tripod.

WiFi: None.

Food: In the 1950s Coffee Bar you can buy coffee, beer, soft drinks and biscuits/ cake. You are welcome to bring your own packed lunch, but beverages must be bought from the museum. For more formal dining, there is also an historic basement bar restaurant, open Mondays – Saturdays from 11am to 5pm.

Edit: I’m linking this post to the new monthly #CulturedKids linky over at Nell Heshram’s The Pigeon Pair and Me. Each month, anyone can link up a post on her blog, about a culture related family experience they’ve written about. Additionally, Nell will be highlighting upcoming ‘not be be missed’ events or featuring other arts and culture bloggers. Since we are taking the kids on a weekend to Copenhagen as an Advent treat this month, I thought I would chose one of our favourite Copenhagen museums for the #CulturedKids December edition. (02/11/2016)

the Pigeon Pair and Me
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2 Responses to “{Denmark} A Worker’s Life at the Arbejdermuseet”

  1. Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me) Says:

    I hope you have a wonderful advent in Copenhagen! Thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids. This museum looks fascinating – I really want to go and find out what’s behind the outhouse door :-). There’s something similar, but on a much smaller scale, at the Museum of London.



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