World’s largest paper museum opens in Kocaeli
KOCAELİTurkey’s first and the world’s largest paper museum, the SEKA Mehmet Ali Kağıtçı Paper Museum, has opened in the northwestern province of Kocaeli.
The museum was established by Kocaeli Municipality to preserve the region’s industrial heritage.
The museum consists of 16 different halls and presents the history of the factory, which was established in 1936 and played a significant role in the industrialization process of the Turkish Republic, as well as the creation of paper.
Kocaeli Deputy Mayor Zekeriya Özak said the opening of the museum was historic. “Seka was Turkey’s biggest treasure for development and one of the first big industrial breakthroughs. [The factory’s founder] Mehmet Ali Kağıtçı realized his dream by opening the paper factory after a lot of work. Then Seka failed to keep up with the times and failed to renew its technology. As the metropolitan municipality, we made important investments to bring Seka back to the economy. Now the journey of paper will survive in this museum.”
Defense Minister Fikri Işık said Seka was one of the symbols of industrialization in the first years of the republic but that it was not able to keep pace with technological developments.
“The suffering factory has been reopened again with the initiative of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Mayor İbrahim Karaosmanoğlu. Now people will see the journey of Seka with the new museum. Museums have an educational function. Young people will have the chance to see the history of paper in the museum,” the minister said.
Wide museum collection
In the museum, visitors can see the history of paper in Turkey with visual aids. The museum is home to all the machines and equipment that were used in the paper production process. Five printing machines have also been restored for display.
Among the preserved machines, the most important one is the second paper machine from Seka’s first paper factory. The most important feature of the machine was that it operated for 70 years from the opening of the factory until its closure.
Besides the machines and equipment used in the paper production process, the museum also displays a number of samples chosen from tens of thousands of photographs, documents and objects, including Roman-era coins, documentary videos on Seka’s history and sculptures made of paper and recycled materials. The museum’s collection and archive is expanding day by day with continuing donations. Viewers online can also access the archive and collection.
The Mehmet Ali Kağıtçı Memoir Room, dedicated to the Turkey’s first paper engineer and the founder of Seka, displays a number of books and documents written by the factory’s founder.
Workshops for children
The four-story Seka Paper Museum also offers workshops for children to produce paper with traditional methods as well as marbling workshops and exhibitions.
Thanks to the workshops that will be organized at the museum, children will be able to see what can be done with paper and produce their very own paper.