Rahmi Koç Museum in Cunda aims for 1 million visitors
The museum was named after Rahmi M. Koç and is affiliated with the Rahmi M. Koç Foundation for Museology and Culture. More than 100,000 people visit every year.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Koç said their first museum is on the coast of the Golden Horn in Istanbul, the second one is in Çengelhan in Ankara and the third one is on Cunda Island in the northwestern province of Balıkesir.
“What makes us pleased is the satisfaction of our visitors who come from Turkey and abroad as well,” he said.
Koç said they had chosen old buildings to establish the museums and explained that museums should renew themselves.
“Museums should be alive and statistical. They should take the pulse of visitors and bring innovation based on that. We see such museums abroad. They are bigger and richer than ours, of course. Unfortunately, Turkey does not have many collections. Most of them are provided by other countries. They are restored in our ateliers and these restored artifacts are too expensive. Therefore, we take them from auctions, antique and junk dealers. As we are known, those who want to sell such artifacts in Europe, get in touch with us. They make proposals to us and we appreciate it,” he said.
As for his dreams on Ayvalık’s Cunda Island, Koç said they want to increase the number of visitors.
“Our goal is to welcome one million visitors to Ayvalık. I do not know if we can do it but this is our ultimate goal. It makes me so happy that they congratulate me when they see me. I hope we open a new museum in another part of Turkey,” he said.
Koç said museums should have features that draw people of all ages.
“This is not a toy museum alone but a multilateral museum. You can say it is a museum of industry and transport, or a museum that has a value of antiquity. Therefore, we try to draw everyone’s interest, young or old. People lose their interest in half an hour. They spend more time if they see a different object in every step they take. Of course, each museum needs to have its small own café and a souvenir shop. This is the social aspect of a museum,” he said.
The Taxiarchis Church, the most important historical structure of Cunda Island in Balıkesir’s Ayvalık district, was built in 1873.
When the building was damaged by an earthquake in 1944 it was abandoned and gradually became derelict as a result of weathering and depredation by people.
In 2012, the Rahmi M. Koç Foundation for Museology and Culture leased the church from the General Directorate of Foundations for 49 years and turned the historical structure into a museum after a two-year restoration process.
The museum opened in June 2014 and aims to transfer industrial heritage to future generations. It houses a wide collection of history from over 100 years including toys, a 120-year old horse carriage, old diver suits and others.