The People’s Story Museum

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Edinburgh, Scotland is filled with history & museums both large and small. One of the smaller unique museums is the People’s Story Museum. The People’s Story Museum tells the story of the working-class people of Edinburgh from the 18th century onward, including their social movements, industries, and activities.

The People’s Story Museum is located at the eastern end of the Royal Mile, not far from the Scottish Parliament building. The Museum of Edinburgh is right across the street. The People’s Story Museum is also near several hop-on, hop-off bus routes. Entry is free, with donations suggested.

peoples story museum 700x525 - The People's Story Museum

The People’s Story Museum (official website) is located in the old Canongate Tolbooth building, which was built in 1591. The museum consists of 3 floors, all telling the history of Edinburgh through the everyday lives and stories of its residents from the 18th century to the present day. All of the content in the People’s Story Museum comes from firsthand stories & records. Mannequins bring several of these personalities to life.

The ground floor of the museum first provides an overview of the museum, including the Canongate Tolbooth itself, 18th-century life, trade (including unions & other organizations), and law & disorder.

peoples story museum canongate tolbooth 700x525 - The People's Story Museum

On the floor above, there are interesting displays relating to the lives of workers in various industries in the 19th & 20th centuries, including fishing, whaling, dockers, shipbuilders, industrial workers, whisky & brewery workers, bakers, printers & bookbinders, hotels workers, and public transport workers.

peoples story museum edinburgh workers trades 700x525 - The People's Story Museum

Each of the individual exhibits goes into a good amount of detail, with items relating to each trade inside. It’s a cool way of getting a peek into the lives of these workers.

peoples story museum industry workers 700x933 - The People's Story Museum

There are also displays about the various political and social movements in Edinburgh, including unions, protests, and more. The People’s Story Museum has the largest collection of early reform flags and banners in Britain.

peoples story museum unions politics 700x933 - The People's Story Museum
peoples story museum reform flags 700x933 - The People's Story Museum

The top floor of the People’s Story Museum covers social life in Edinburgh. It has exhibits about leisure activities, health care, pubs & tea rooms, music & sport, and washhouses. There are also videos featuring the stories of Edinburgh residents.

peoples story museum leisure time kids 700x933 - The People's Story Museum

The People’s Story Museum provides a nice glimpse into the lives & struggles of the workers who have made Edinburgh what it is today. It’s similar to the People’s History Museum in Manchester, the Museum of Liverpool, and the People’s Palace in Glasgow. For more nearby history, visit the Museum of Edinburgh and the Museum on the Mound.

Here are some great Edinburgh tours & activities & other things to see & do in Edinburgh.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Edinburgh, check out these Edinburgh hotels.

Last updated on October 2, 2022

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