Revista Granito de Arena

Dreaming is worth it! 23 years of the Carlos F. Novella Museum

23 years ago, on March 18, 1999, the Carlos F. Novella Museum was inaugurated to publicize the life project of the founder of Cementos Progreso: Carlos F. Novella. Don Carlos was characterized as an entrepreneur with a great work spirit that led him to dream, create and build one of the most important industries for the progress of Guatemala.

From an early stage, the museum has promoted in childhood the importance of dreaming big. Since its inauguration, groups of students from various educational levels, businessmen, diplomats, clients, suppliers, company collaborators and the general public began to arrive. It is no coincidence that the first group of visitors to the museum were children aged four and six who belonged to the “Rosa y Carolina Agazzi” Nursery School located in Project 4-4 of zone 6.

For 23 years, the Carlos F. Novella Museum has contributed to Guatemalan education by offering an alternative to learn about industrial heritage, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about the origin and development of one of the most important industries for the country, that is, the production of construction materials, mainly cement.

For several years, there was in place a scholarship program for archeology students who contributed with the museum in all the processes involved in setting up exhibitions at the time in which pre-Hispanic archaeological pieces from the Cuenca Mirador Archaeological Project were on display. Several of the students who benefited from this scholarship program are currently co-directors of archaeological projects, doctoral students and renowned professionals in the archaeological field.

In July 1999, the «Induction Program» was implemented by Human Resources, aimed at all recently hired employees and consisting of guided visits to the production plants and the museum -among other activities- with the purpose of show the history of this company, which has made it possible to continue disseminating the achievements of a visionary man such as Carlos F. Novella among the cement community.

Historical archive

The Carlos F. Novella Museum has contributed to protecting, promoting and projecting the company’s industrial and cultural heritage by safeguarding objects, photographs and documents found in the Cementos Progreso historical archive. At the end of 2011, the investigation of historical articles that have been published in the Granito de Arena magazine began.

For these investigations, the documentary and photographic material used has been mainly from the Historical Archive the museum guards, as well as bibliographic sources, information from old newspapers and other collections, thus complying with the disclosure of the history of the cement industry. These investigations have also been presented at national and international events


dedicated to the dissemination of industrial heritage.

Along with the publication work in various media, interviews have also been conducted with former collaborators and collaborators who have an important trajectory within the different units that make up Progreso, since they were and are witnesses to the intangible heritage that is essential to rescue. This intangible heritage is made up of the memories of the traditions, the knowledge, the celebrations and the memories of the experiences of the people who are part of the Progreso family.

A museum with a lot of history

The documentary collection of the Carlos F. Novella Museum dates from 1860 to 2018. Most of the documents are in Spanish and some in English, French, German and Italian.

The data

The collection has more than 12 thousand photographic negatives, 45 videos in VHS format, 27 cassettes, 41 videos on DVD, 1,800 slides, 3,300 documents, 503 between books and magazines, 2,800 plans and 21 thousand photographs.

A story that continues

The museum will continue to fulfill its mission of protecting and inspiring, as Gabriela Salles Novella mentions “The new generation of the Novella Family has inherited a social responsibility with Guatemala City. We think that our fathers, mothers and grandparents have taught us through examples and work how important family unity is and above all the philosophy with which the company has been managed, and for this reason, we want the museum to be the summary of what some day you dreamed and what we have to follow. May it serve as an example and inspiration not only for us but for the entire Guatemalan community and leave a mark of what one day a man dreamed of and achieved with his faith and work”

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