National Cooperative Museum



The Central Cooperative Union building hosts the only National Cooperative Museum in Bulgaria. The National Cooperative Museum preserves the memory of the history of the Bulgarian cooperative movement, the developments during the different periods and the achievements during the 125-year history of the Bulgarian cooperatives. It also illustrates the important role that consumer cooperatives play in the public, political and economic life in the country and the authority of the Central Cooperative Union among the international cooperative organisations. 

The exposition of the museum presents the different stages in the development of the cooperative movement in Bulgaria. There are more than 1500 exhibits, on 10 displays in the form of open books, 17 window displays along the walls and especially designed cube arrangements displaying exhibits from all areas of the cooperative activities and albums with photographs from different periods.
The Museum was opened by Angel Marin – Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria and Petar Stefanov – President of the Central Cooperative Union on 2 July 2004 on the occasion of the 82nd International Cooperatives Day and UN 10th International Day of Cooperatives.

Cooperative leaders, prominent global, European and national cooperative activists, as well as reputable figures of our times have left their messages in the Honorary Visitors Book: 

„With deep respect to the century-long large-scale activities of the cooperative movement in Bulgaria, with deep respect to everything the Central Cooperative Union is doing today, preserving and developing the best of traditions!", was the message Georgi Parvanov – President of the Republic of Bulgaria in the period 2002 – 2012 - wrote in 2006.

One of the most valuable exhibits in the Museum is the seal of Mirkovo vakif. The vakif is a pre-cooperative form which contributed to the sense and need for cooperation and mutual assistance in the people from Mirkovo Village. Its history is interesting. The seal has 5 separate parts, including the handle, which brings them together. Each part of the seal was kept by a different member of the management of the vakif. Bringing all the parts together and affixing the seal required the consent of all members. The president of the vakif became president of the cooperative established in Mirkovo Village. The seal of the vakif and the seal of the first Bulgarian cooperative in Mirkovo Village are placed next to each other in the Museum.

The National Cooperative Museum is open for visitors every business day from 8.00 am until 5 pm, or during holidays upon request.