This small museum can certainly be added to the list of the most interesting and unique museums in Kazakhstan. Geographical location, history of creation and a narrow thematic orientation make it unusual. Historical museum of the cotton economy is located 230 kilometers from Shymkent, in a small village Atakent, Maktaaral district, the South Kazakhstan region.
The museum can be attributed as one of the oldest museums in Kazakhstan. The foundation was in 1944, when a small farm was preparing to celebrate twentieth anniversary. Despite the difficult war years, it was decided to prepare an exhibition in the building of seed.
Farmers collected photographs, documents, agricultural tools and equipment in order to reflect the history of farm.
The exhibition was held with great success. However, it was so interesting for citizens that they did not want to take it apart. On the contrary, it was always updated with new exhibits. If it was not decided to keep the exhibition, most of them, more than seven thousand exhibits, would not be able to restore.
The department of seed moved to another building later, and that corp, which was built of mud brick in 1930, was undertaken by museum. It was blended perfectly in the center of the village. The decision was bold as soon as not every farm (sovxoz or kolxoz) could boast with own museum.
Rare documents, books, personal belongings of famous people and photos of citizens carried to the museum every year by updating the collection. The museum took the National status in 1974. An interesting fact: the ordinary man from the street could not visit the museum, because people were allowed only by request of workers, schools and labor collectives.
The museum is considered as an elite place of culture. It is enough to browse the book of reviews in order to see how many famous people, well-known politicians and foreign visitors were there.
Currently, this unique museum is considered as a regional museum of subordination, and it is maintained by local budget. After visiting the museum, visitors realize that the museum deserves the republican status.
The museum covers all stages of severe struggle of people for irrigation and prosperity of agriculture in the area.
The background of Kaufman was continued with ancient steppe aryk ‘Mirzarabat’ by initiation of the governor-general of Turkestan Territory Konstantin Petrovich in 1869. However, the wetness was short-lived. Water of the river Zarafshan was hardly lasted for irrigating the valley. The King government did not give water from the south-west side and directed to the Syrdarya river. The construction of "Grand Channel" began in 1872 according to the Ulyanov’s project. However, the result was very disappointing. Nine-years of people’s work, who were urged from all counties, were in vain, and the water did not go through the channel.
The ordinance of Lenin takes a special place. A document about allocation of 5 million rubles for irrigation works in Turkestan was signed on 17 May 1918. The first lines of this ordinance: "To approve the work plan to increase security of Russian cotton textile industry for comprising irrigation of 500,000 tithes Hungry steppe ..." (as they called desert on the left side of the Syrdarya river).
Lenin's ordinance was a momentous document in the development of the region. Most of the channels, which were built in the 20s of the last century, are still used today. One of the largest irrigation projects of that time was Kirov channel (now Dostyk).
After the development and irrigation of land, cotton is related with life and events of Maktaaral’s people. They found reflections in the various exhibits, which was presented in the museum.
Different types of technology (including the first cotton harvest, which was tested in Mahtaaral fields) were presented here. The first Soviet tractor - "Universal" is on pedestal in front of the museum. The mechanization of cotton industry was started by it. There are valuable production exhibits - equestrian drill, cultivator. Many of them have survived in one copy. There is not such an old cotton technology in the world.
The museum exposition is lighten by other dramatic moments in the history of the region. Here were exiled representatives from other nationalities: Finns, Germans, people of the Caucasus, Ukrainians and Greeks (since 1935). Among them were graduates of the Sorbonne, great musicians, in particular the German Rudolf Kehrer.
Maktaral Historical museum of the cotton economy has a rare collection of expositions, which cover all stages in the development of Kazakhstan. The staff this small museum carefully store the history and are always welcome to guests.