Museum houses taking off in Istanbul
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Barış Manço Museum HouseThe houses of notable Turkish figures who have left their mark on Turkey’s history are increasingly being turned into museums for visitors interested in gaining a different perspective on events from the country’s past.
The Orhan Kemal Museum, Aşiyan Tevfik Fikret, Barış Manço, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, Sait Faik Abasıyanık and Hüseyin Rahmi Gürpınar museum houses in Istanbul are hosting local and foreign guests with increasing numbers every year thanks to their collection of the artists’ personal belongings, photos and objects.
The founder of the Orhan Kemal Museum in Beyoğlu, Işık Öğütçü, said he had long hoped to open a museum house project for his father, ultimately succeeding on Sept. 15, 2000, the artist’s birthday.
“We started working by organizing his home office; bringing photos here from our archives. Small objects used by him, clothes and books became a part of this museum,” Öğütçü said.
Renowned literary figures would survive even without a museum, but a museum brings readers closer to the author, he said.
“You know that there is only one photo of a writer in the back of the book. Readers know this writer thanks to this photo. But there is life in this museum. Photos and objects tell you many stories. I sometimes serve as a guide for visitors here. Our mass target was young people and they have shown great interest in the museum. Teachers sent their students to the museum. People also come here in groups. I tell them some anecdotes and stories from Orhan Kemal. This is not a static museum but a living space,” he said.
Öğütçü said Istanbul was late in opening museums for renowned figures. “We go abroad from time to time and see the museum houses of writers and artists. Here, there are few families who have opened such museums. But what should other families do if they don’t have an opportunity to do this? The Culture and Tourism Ministry, municipalities or nongovernmental organizations have taken action in that point. There are many families in Turkey who are prominent in the museum sector. They could find such artists and support their families to open a museum. If they can collect all these museums under the same roof, artists and readers would come together easily.”
Işık Öğütçü, the founder of the Orhan Kemal Museum
Öğütçü said the objects in the museum had been kept by his mother, adding that visitors from around the world had come to the museum.
“People from China, Japan, the United States and Egypt come to our museum,” he said. “They step in when they see a museum. If they are staying in hotels around Cihangir, they are more interested in such venues.”
Öğütçü said he was invited to the Beijing Book Fair last year to present four books written by his father.
Istanbul Culture and Tourism Director Ahmet Emre Bilgili said Istanbul was very rich in terms of museums. “Famous personalities have [bequeathed important things]. It would be a waste if it is not evaluated,” he said.
The museums of artists have been established with the efforts of their families, Bilgili said. “What should be done is to evaluate such small opportunities by realizing an urban project with public resources.”