Legislative assembly

Conservation work on the Assembly Museum building nears completion

The conservation of the Kerala Legislative Assembly Golden Jubilee Museum, a protected monument under the Department of Archeology, is nearing completion.

The museum, at the Legislative Assembly campus in Palayam, is housed in a beautiful western-style red building dating back to 1868. It was the headquarters of the Thiruvithamkoor Nair Pattalam or Nair Brigade of old Travancore.

The stately building later became a military hospital, the headquarters of the mounted police and later the office of the city police commissioner. It housed offices after the construction of the new assembly building, archeology department officials said. The building was later converted into the Assembly Museum which was opened by former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in 2006.

The 41-cent lot on which the museum stands is bordered by the official residence of the Speaker of the Assembly and the residence of the Deputy Speaker and the Legislative Secretary.

Although declared a protected monument in 1997, the building has been maintained by the Department of Public Works in association with the Secretariat of the Assembly. Then, during the tenure of the previous Left Democratic Front government, Assembly Secretary VK Babu Prakash suggested that overall conservation of the building be undertaken, as structural repairs deviated from principles and ethics conservation.

The conservation work took place in two phases. In a first phase, the conservation of the building’s entrance and the bell tower was completed in 2019. A chamber believed to contain explosives and which had been sealed was also restored, and a spiral staircase and a platform were added to allow access to the room that contained the opening to the chamber.

Parts of the main building that housed the extension rooms had an asbestos roof after the tiles had broken. These have been replaced by tiles as part of the conservation work. A perimeter wall at the rear of the building was also constructed.

In the second phase which began after COVID, the focus was on the roof of the main structure that houses the museum, as rainwater tended to seep in, damaging the ceiling. As the roof tiles were of different patterns and styles (some were fish scale tiles, while others were Mangalore pattern tiles), they were removed and put back in order.

Some mowers and rafters were damaged. Of these, some were repaired and treated with cashew oil and put back in place, while others were replaced. The terracotta floor has been polished and given a new coating.

The regular maintenance of the building that had been done before facilitated the work of the archeology department, officials said.

A garden will also come in the back where museum visitors can relax after their visit.