This cultural enclave is a tribute to the main “engine” of Asturian development. With coal came to Asturias the manufacture of iron and steel, the arms industry, thermal power stations, zinc factories, not to mention that coal gave Asturias a wide network of railways and opened the seaports and mountain ports that had kept it virtually isolated from the rest of Spain.
The main building consists of a large central body of cylindrical shape where the tower of the castillete stands out, visible from both the outside and the inside and that by means of an elevator or cage connects the Museum with the mine image.
Two side naves joined to the large central drum house the numerous exhibition rooms, as well as complementary services: assembly hall, cafeteria and shops.
The old mining technologies. On the ground floor and in the central hall of the Museum, visitors can take a tour of the technical history of European mining. Life-size and scale models “bring to life” the period from the 16th to the 18th century.
The depth at which the minerals can be collected from the ground depends largely on the level of the groundwater and the speed with which the water that tends to flood the galleries is removed. To solve such an important problem, there were various machines that were driven either by human or animal energy, some examples of which can be seen in the Museum.
As the depth of the galleries advanced, other basic needs appeared such as ventilation and such ingenious solutions as the “blowing machine” for boats, driven by the hydraulic wheel or animal power.
The age of steam and the industrialization of Asturias. From the invention of Newcomen (1712) and the improvements introduced by Watt, who managed to bring the force of steam from the mines to the factories, a series of economic and social changes known as the Industrial Revolution took place in Europe.
In the permanent exhibition, didactic models of different industrial steam engines are displayed.
Like the rest of European industrial societies, the Asturian habitat is transformed by the exploitation and uses of coal. Initiatives such as the Nalon pipeline, the coal road, the railway, the iron and steel industry, etc., are all reaching the Asturian coalfields. The rhythms of agricultural and craft work will be replaced forever by mining and industrial activity.
The abundant supply of work motivates the increase of population in the mining basins, increased mostly by mine workers, giving rise to the birth of the largest group of workers dedicated to the same activity. This new class of workers would lead the first trade union movements in Asturias.
Mineralogy and explosives (E.U.) One of the most notable collections of Asturian mineralogy is on display in the Mining Museum (Fernández-Buelga), where we can admire the beauty of the pieces, and a sample of the mineral wealth of Asturias.
The mineralogy gives us a step to the principles of chemistry and physics, materialized in the scientific collection of the MUMI. Scales, microscopes, colorimeters, polarimeters, etc., are complemented by the reconstruction of a materials laboratory from the end of the 19th century, with the impressive chemical facilities where nitric acid and other products were obtained, as well as everything related to the explosives industry.
It is a true Museum of Enterprise (E.U.) inside the Museum of Mining and Industry itself.
Mining Nursing and Medical History. In the infirmary of Minas de Lieres, Figaredo, La Camocha, Sanatorio Adaro, etc., the spaces of the office and the surgical unit are differentiated. Around it, the exhibition of medical tools, anatomical and pathological models and, in general, the therapeutic arsenal that constitutes a museum of the history of medicine stand out.
Toilet house. In addition to the basic function of this space in a mining facility, it is important to note the relevant role it has traditionally played as a social gathering place for the miners.
The Museum has reproduced a toilet with real elements.
Lamp shop. It includes a large collection of lamps, in which the evolution of this piece can be seen, from oil lamps, the first safety lamps and those used today together with the reconstruction of an electric lamp shop.
The Rescue Brigade. This module contains devices that have historically been used by brigade members in rescue tasks, the first brigade ambulance and curious objects such as the ingenious bird cage whose function was to detect firedamp, smoke masks, rescuers, etc.
The image mine. In the Museum’s image mine, on a life-size scale and with real tools, are the most significant aspects of coal mining and extraction, interior transport, etc.
It consists of the main gallery and the upper gallery and, between them, the different workshops. The mine is accessed by a hydraulic elevator (known in mining jargon as a cage), located in the shaft. The visit to the mine is accompanied by a monitor who explains to visitors all the shoring systems, machines, ventilation, etc.