A History of Hope, Determination
In 1891, ten electrical workers met in St. Louis, Missouri, to form the first national union for the advancement and safety of those practicing a challenging and dangerous craft. From their efforts came a legacy of pride, skill and dedication: the foundation of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. With hope and determination, they created an effective and respected union that has contributed to the well-being of men and women in all aspects of the industry for more than a century.
The IBEW is proud to celebrate its history through its unique museum at the union’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Through text, graphics, artifacts, interactive displays and video, the museum tells the story of the workers in the electrical trade.
Explore the IBEW Museum
Visit the IBEW Museum and learn how the union survived struggles, fierce opposition and internal divisions in the early years to take its place among the leaders in the labor movement.
Touch the tools of the trade past and present and get a sense of the skills needed to work in the various branches of the IBEW. Find out how the structure and culture of IBEW local unions have enriched the lives of members and their families.
Put yourself in the middle of the IBEW Convention, the union’s highest governing body. See the faces and read the stories of the leaders who stepped forward to guide the union through good times and bad.
Whether you are a lifelong member of the IBEW, a student of labor history, or simply want to understand more about how the electrical workers of North America traveled the road from struggle to success, your visit will be a rewarding experience.
A Living History
Explore the events that led to our founding in 1891 and delve into the many challenges we have and continue to face. Celebrate in the successes gained from pursuing our mission of a better life not only for our members but for our society.
Local Unions and Membership
The true strength of our union rests in the culture of IBEW’s Local Unions, which provide members with the essential training necessary to creating professional grade electricians. Our robust apprenticeship programs, through proper safety education, ensure that members can cope with the many dangers and hardships of this industry.
Conventions and Governance
Delve into the history and hierarchy of our International Officers and track the location of our International Headquarters throughout our history. You can also step inside an IBEW Convention and discover how the organization governs its members, defines its mission and adapts to change.
Trades and Skills
Here we consider the industries of electrical work which the IBEW represents: Manufacturing, Construction, Utility, Railroad, Government, Telecommunications and Broadcasting. Learn the skills required for such a diversity of work and pick up the tools used by members in the field, past and present.
IBEW Story Booth
In this interactive exhibit, IBEW members are encouraged to contribute their own piece of history. Once inside the booth you can use the touchscreen and video screen to record a two-minute story that will be preserved in our archives. Whether it’s your best IBEW memory or greatest accomplishment as a member, this is an opportunity for you to become a part of the museum.
In the center of the exhibit are five panels that are periodically changed, exploring a wide range of topics and allow the museum to stay fresh and current. Come back to visit and you’ll always see something new about IBEW history.