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India’s first Labour Movement museum to come up in Kerala

The country’s first Labour Movement Museum, showcasing the history of world labour movement, would be launched in Kerala’s houseboat tourism hub, Alappuzha.

The museum will feature a huge repository of documents and exhibits that shaped the labour movements across the continents and impacted Alappuzha, the cradle of the labour movement in the country, in particular and Kerala in general, state Tourism department said on Sunday.

Located alongside the Port and Coir museums displaying the town’s rich maritime heritage, the Labour Movement Museum, the first such window in the country on the class struggle and spirited fight of workers, is part of a larger project that will also be of tourist appeal, it said in a release.

The museum would be launched as part of the LDF government’s second 100-day programme.

“The New Model Cooperative Society Limited, previously run by the Bombay Company, has been converted into the Labour Movement Museum.

It will portray, through pictures, documents and other exhibits, the growth of the world labour movement and the history of Keralas labour movement”, the tourism department said.

Packed with history predating the advent of the Western colonialism, Alappuzha had a virtual monopoly over the production and shipping of coir made of coconut husk, a product that had immense global demand.

“Besides its unsurpassed natural beauty, Alappuzha has a rich commercial and maritime heritage dating back to the ancient times and connected to distant lands. The Alappuzha Heritage Tourism project is conceived to bring this legacy before tourists, in which these museums are important components. They will also serve scholars specializing in the commercial and labour- related topics,” Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said.

The Museums will open as soon as the restoration of heritage structures is complete.

Kerala State Coir Corporation Ltd building, formerly run by the Volkart Brothers, will become the Museum of Coir History.

With an outlay of Rs 9.95 crores, 97 per cent of renovation works in this museum is complete.

The Port Museum gives a vivid idea of Alappuzhas commercial links with the world outside through the sea.

The conservation of the old Port Office and the adjacent godowns is in progress.

Nearly 90 per cent of the works of Rs 4.63 crore Port Office refurbishment is complete.

Nurturing of the Miyawaki forest, pier restoration, Naval Signal Museum and the improvement of the canals, Gandhi Museum, Saukar Masjid, Makham Masjid renovation are also progressing as part of the heritage project, the Tourism Department said.

The places of worship in the town, factories and historical buildings will be part of the project.

Noted conservation architect Dr Benny Kuriakose is leading the restoration works.

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