The Arakkal Palace Museum that houses art and artefacts from the erstwhile Muslim principality here will have a permanent art gallery as an Onam gift for visitors.

The art gallery has been established inside the museum, located in a renovated 200-year old building that formed part of the Arakkal ‘kettu' (complex), the seat of the Arakkal royal house.

The gallery will be opened on Thiruvonam day on Friday. Nearly 30 paintings by 18 artists will be exhibited to mark the inauguration.

A press release issued by the Arakkal Family Trust here said the gallery would come up on the ground floor and the top floor of the two-storey building. All the paintings being exhibited in connection with the inauguration would depict the history of the Malabar region and the contemporary issues there. The exhibition would begin at 3 p.m. on Friday.

The museum showcases the history of the Arakkal royal family and the influence it exercised in the region. Old records, maps, drawings of surveys, and manuscripts highlighting the maritime activities of the Muslim royal family, its monopoly on the spices trade, and relationship with European colonial powers are on display. The Arakkal family, which in its heyday controlled the Maldives and Lakshadweep, had cultivated good relations with Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, and the Dutch, among others.

The building that houses the museum was renovated under a project funded by the Tourism Department. The museum was inaugurated in 2005 by the then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. It was closed recently for repair and maintenance works.

E. Mohamed Afzal, trust advisor, said the museum would be reopened on Friday. An exhibition of paintings in the museum would also be held at the gallery. It would be titled ‘Dutch in Kerala.' He said more programmes would be held at the gallery in collaboration with the Kerala Folklore Akademi.