Turkish museums in progress

Turkish museums in progress

ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Turkish museums in progress

AA Photo

In recent years Turkey has taken large strides to develop museums of international standards, which have opened one after the other. Radical change has been seen both in the museums’ physical structures and in the service mentality of Anatolia.

“Especially over the last 10 years, Turkey has gained speed and began establishing museums matching international criteria,” said Cultural Heritages and Museums Deputy General Director Zülküf Yılmaz.

Yılmaz said the definition of what constitutes a museum had already changed: Museums are no longer limited and static places, but instead have become social arenas where people interact with each other or objects, he said. 

“We have started establishing modern museums as the necessity of the time. We need to open museums that offer education, maintenance ateliers [and] depots to keep artworks for at least 40-50 years, and places for visitors to eat, drink and shop, with large display areas as well,” Yılmaz said. He added that the country’s developments were reflected in the changes within its museums.

Yılmaz said while museum management diversified Turkish museums, they also enhanced existing ones. “We have policies for museums to go through a fast transformation process and acquire a new identity to suit the 21st century,” he said.

Turkey has 193 museums affiliated with the Culture and Tourism Ministry, 136 restored ancient sites and 195 private museums, according to Yılmaz. He said the number of museums in some developed countries reached into the thousands, citing the nearly 35,000 museums in the U.S.

“It is good when the number is many, but if you open new museums just to increase the number, you later begin to make concessions on their quality,” he said. “When we talk about thousands of museums, all of them cannot be at the standards of the New York Metropolitan Museum.” Yılmaz also noted economic conditions played a large role in the quality and quantity of museums in a country.

Yılmaz said the number of visitors to museums had increased considerably each year, adding the average visitor’s profile usually included those with middle- and higher levels of education. He said he wants people of all backgrounds to visit these museums, however.

Yılmaz said almost 65 museum projects are being conducted currently, adding some new museums will open to visitors shortly. Among these are the Hatay Archaeology Museum, the Şanlıurfa Museum, the Şanlıurfa Haleplibahçe Mosaic Museum, the Van Urartu Museum and the Çanakkale Troy Museum.

He also discussed a developing Journey to History project, which will present social and cultural activities in some museum exhibitions.