The number of visitors to the Museum of the “Hamidiyeh School of Industry”, which dates back to the era of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II in the state of Sivas, central Turkey, has reached 25 thousand people.
And this during the past six months, which reflects the growing public interest in this historical edifice.
The Hamidiye School of Industry was established in Sivas by the Ottoman governor Rashid Akif Pasha in 1902.
This was during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II in order to provide vocational rehabilitation services for children aged between 5 and 13 years, especially orphans.
After the school provided vocational education services for children for 59 years, it was converted into a prison in 1961, and 58 years were used for this purpose.
Within the framework of the “Support Centers of Attraction” program launched by the Turkish Ministry of Industry and Technology.
In 2019, the state of Sivas restored the building while preserving its original architecture, and opened it in July 2021 to visitors after converting it into a museum.
Director of Culture and Museums of Sivas Fatih Mehmet Tanri Weren said that industrial schools were established in the Ottoman Empire.
This is to meet the increasing need for skilled labor with the industrial transformation that the country witnessed in its last years.
“In fact, these schools contributed to laying the first building block and foundation for the vocational high schools that were established in the republican era,” added Tannery Wern.
He continued, “The industrial schools that were established during the Ottoman era succeeded in rehabilitating Muslim and other children professionally, providing them with vocational education for a period of 4 years, as well as residency services.”
He explained that the industrial schools in general were transformed into technical schools in 1939.
Meanwhile, the Hamidiya School of Industry in Sivas provided vocational education services to children for 59 years before the Ministry of Justice turned it into a prison in 1961.
Tannery Wern stated that the Hamidiya School of Industry building, which was used as a prison for 58 years, was converted into a museum in 2021 after the building underwent renovations in 2019.
And he added: “The building (museum) consists of 3 separate rooms on the upper floor.
The first room contains sculptures and models of teaching aids that were used in the school during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.
He added, “While the second room, which was used for 58 years as a dormitory for women in the prison, contains exhibits related to the women’s prison.
As for the third room, it contains exhibits that reflect the cultural values of Sivas.”
Tannery Wern noted that in other parts the museum organizes courses for the handicrafts for which Sivas is famous.
It also contains a canteen, a lobby and a conference room that can accommodate 50 people in the basement floor.
He pointed out that more than 25,000 people visited the Museum of the Hamidiya School of Industry in 6 months, stressing that the number is expected to triple in 2022.
For his part, Ismail Yildiz, one of the visitors who came to Sivas from the state of Şanlıurfa (south), said that he liked the museum very much and enjoyed viewing its collections.
And he added, “Seeing the museum’s holdings made me feel nostalgic, in addition to being able to obtain valuable information about the history of the building and the experience of industrial schools in the Ottoman and Republican eras.”