Turkish museums get European awards
Welcoming its visitors at the entrance of the 5,000-year-old Troy Ruins in the northwestern province of Çanakkale, the Troy Museum has been honored with the 2020 European Museum of the Year Special Award given by the European Museum Forum (EMF) under the auspices of the Council of Europe.
The award is given to a museum that “contributes most directly to attracting audiences and satisfying its visitors with a unique atmosphere, imaginative interpretation and presentation.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the award ceremony was not held last year, and the winners of 2020 and 2021 were announced online on YouTube.
While the Troy Museum received the award for 2020, the Odunpazarı Modern Museum (OMM) in the central Anatolian province of Eskişehir was deemed worthy of the European Museum of the Year Special Award for 2021.
Troy was immortalized by the ancient Greek poet Homer in his epic “The Iliad,” telling the story of the last year of the decade-long Trojan War.
Stating that the epic is the most significant feature that makes the Troy Museum different from the others, Museum Director Rıdvan Gölcük said that in 2019, 800,000 people visited the ruins and the museum, while during the pandemic period, the number of virtual visitors reached 1.5 million in a year.
Built at the entrance of the Troy Ruins, which sheds light on a history of 5,000 years in Çanakkale, the Troy Museum was opened on March 18, 2019.
In the museum, which has a closed area of 12,750 square meters, 2,000 artworks from the Troy Ruins and other ancient cities are on display, while there are 41,000 artworks in the museum collection. With the temporary exhibitions to be opened this summer, visitors will have the opportunity to see most of the works in the Troy Museum.
Stating that the Troy Museum grew rapidly in a very short time and became noticeable worldwide, Gölcük said: “Troy Museum is a newly established museum; it is three years old. But behind us is a history based on a war of around 3,200 years. We have a 2,700-year-old epic behind us. This is the biggest epic of Anatolia. We get our strength from these lands.”
Noting that the Troy Museum is the first virtual museum in Turkey, Gölcük said: “Our virtual visitor number has reached 1.5 million. Of course, I would like to thank the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums for the virtual museum, as one week after the first case of COVID-19 on March 11, 2020, in Turkey, the Troy Museum became one of the first virtual museums in Turkey.”
[HH] Odunpazarı Museum
The OMM, designed with a synthesis of traditional Ottoman and Japanese architecture, and opened in September 2019, won the same award for 2021.
Odunpazarı district, where the museum is located, was inscribed to UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List in 2012. It was a traditional Ottoman neighborhood, which is famous for its timber houses from the 19th century. Some of the traditional houses were restored and turned into cafes.
Speaking about the award, OMM Communications Director Bengü Kırkız Ergüven said: “It really makes us very proud, as the purpose of this award is to highlight the institutions that can serve as an example to other museums in Europe with their innovative approach. Since the day it started, OMM has been aiming to host its visitors with an innovative, different and dynamic approach.”
The Bayburt Kenan Yavuz Ethnography Museum was also awarded the 2021 Silletto Award by the same organization.