Mining and the making of iron and steel were the principal economic activities from in Asturias from the mid-19th century until the closing years of the 20th century.
The Museum of the Steel Industry (MUSI) complements the mining museum at El Entrego (MUMI) and uses a variety of modern techniques to demonstrate the importance of iron and steel in the region where Pedro Duro (1811-86) established the first blast furnaces in 1857. The firm that he founded became a public company in 1900 and from 1902 was quoted on the stock market. By 1920 it was not only a large-scale producer of steel, but also mined more coal than any other company in Spain.
Visitors enter the museum through a reception area in a 45 m high cooling tower (refrigerante), where they can examine displays about the technology of iron- and steel-making and about the social history of the iron-making communities in Asturias, and also see films, one about steelmaking the other showing the demolition of the blast furnaces in Langreo. Exhibits include a Bessemer Converter, collections of minerals and many spectacular engravings and photographs of the industrial concerns in the area. The museum acts as a focus for trails through which visitors can explore the housing, schools, hospitals and parks created by the paternalism of the Duro company.