Traditionally the axis of the Asturian economy has been mining and steel, with blast furnaces in La Felguera, Mieres, Avilés and Gijón. The past splendor of this activity, and the present times of forced reconversion, are sheltered in the Iron and Steel Museum (MUSI), located in one of the pioneering councils of this sector in Spain: Langreo. This museum is the natural complement of Mining Museum (MUMI), in EL Entrego.
The "Valnalón refrigerant" It is a construction that is part of the Industrial Heritage of Asturias and that has been recently conditioned so that lovers of culture have access to a peculiar collection. On the outside, the robust fireplace has been decorated with a multicolored band that serves to identify it from a distance and give it a museum-like tone. It no longer fumes, now history and ideas bustle inside. Inside the immense cone the process that leads iron ore to become steel is perfectly illustrated. It also explains the history and sociology of work in factories, the life of the workers' settlements in the vicinity and the territorial development of the cities associated with this industry.
For this, the MUSI has machinery and work elements from the old factories, enlightening information panels, an audiovisual room, a library, etc. The intention is clearly show the process of industrialization that the Asturian mining basins experienced since the 19th century.
First steps of the Asturian steel industry
The businessman from La Rioja Pedro Duro founded in 1857 the company Duro y Compañía, which came to be the most important steel center in Spain. With the arrival of this entrepreneur, the valley, basically livestock and mining until then, underwent a gradual transformation. With the growth of the iron and steel industry, a trail of nearby cities was created that employed thousands of Asturians. All of them, like La Felguera, were developed in the shadow of the blast furnaces and their derivative industry, ultimately leaving an outstanding socio-cultural legacy.
In 1900, Duro y Compañía was reconverted into Sociedad Metalúrgica Duro-Felguera, SA, and in 1902 it began to be listed on the Stock Market. In 1920 it was the largest coal company in the country, thanks to whose profits important technical transformations of the steel business are undertaken. During the 1940s and 1950s the mining and steel industry found a very favorable environment. Duro will dominate the national market together with Altos Hornos de Vizcaya until 1960, decade in which the beginning of the mining and industrial restructuring process is marked. In 1961 the Union of Asturian Steelworks (UNINSA) was created, made up of Duro Felguera, the Mieres Factory and the Asturian Industrial Society Factory, the germ of what would later become ENSIDESA, to which all the steel assets of Duro Felguera pass .
In order to analyze this trajectory, relive it and study it in depth, the MUSI also has its own training, research, documentation and publications activities. In the audiovisual room are projected two documentaries: «The steelmaking process» and «Dismantling of blast furnaces of the old factory». Then we access the first floor of the refrigerant where it exists a collection of minerals and tools of the time. The distribution of the contents is thematic and is organized into five different areas. The space for exhibitions is completely open, with the incentive of feeling inside an industrial fireplace. If we look up, behind a glass platform, we discover the sky framed in a huge circular mouth.
But the imposing reception center does not exhaust everything offered by the Iron and Steel Museum, and the visits do not end here, rather they begin. It is the starting point for other optional visits: "The workers' house in La Felguera: living spaces" and "La Felguera, the entrepreneurial spirit of Pedro Duro and the origin and development of a population center", which take the visitor through two of the areas of Langreo that most They changed during that industrial era and that they preserve in perfect condition the traces left by the workers and owners of the old factory: workers 'houses, "engineers' villa", street lamps and bandstand in the Park ...
Museum of Steelmaking Hours
Tuesday to Saturday from 10,00 to 14,00 and from 16,00 to 19,00.
Sundays of 10,00 to 14,00 hours.
Guided visits to the Iron and Steel Museum
Visit A: Visit inside the "Museum of the Iron and Steel Industry"
Visit B: Visit to the "Museum of the Iron and Steel Industry" + Route A ("Workers' house in La Felguera: spaces to live")
Visit C: Visit "Museum of the Iron and Steel Industry" + Route B ("The Machine and time: work in the old factory")
Visit D: Visit "Museum of the Siderurgia" + Route A and B
Visit E: Visit "Museum of the Siderurgia" + Municipal Picture Gallery
Visit F: Visit "Museum of the Siderurgia" + Didactic workshop
Steel Museum Museum Rates
Individual / adult rate: €3
Child and senior rate: €2
School and senior groups: € 1,70 per person.
Adult groups + 20 pax: € 2,55 per person.
Source: Iron and Steel Museum
Valnalón Technological City. C / Hornos Altos s / n. 33930 - Langreo
Contact number: 985 67 84 77
More information: Iron and Steel Museum
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com