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Quirky Museums: The Museum of Innocence

Continuing our series highlighting quirky museums around the world; we are putting the spotlight on Istanbul, Turkey.

Istanbul, Turkey: Rolling hills, neolithic artifacts, ocean air, ancient Greek and Roman heritage sites, and modern skyscrapers amalgamating in the center of the world’s 15th largest city. A place of history, Istanbul has been a site of cultural importance for thousands of years. People from all over the world travel there to see antiquated temples and eat traditional Turkish cuisine. But some also travel to experience a story; a tale that has moved generations since 2008.

Orhan Pamuk (Author, Artist, and Founder) inside The Museum of Innocence.

Opened in 2012, The Museum of Innocence first started out as a personal collection of found items to help author Orhan Pamuk with his novel under the same name. He began collecting household objects in the mid-1990’s and emulated the story he wanted to tell by placing them around his house in ways that his characters would. In 2000, Pamuk felt as though his house was no longer the right place to continue his vision, so he bought a house in Beyoglu, a town just north of the docks of Istanbul. It is bright red and is situated on a narrow and mountainous street, characteristic of urban areas in 1970 Turkey. It was there that he expanded the collection and finished writing his critically acclaimed novel.

A collection of family photos hung inside The Museum of Innocence.

In 2008, Pamuk published the novel and it gained such popularity and acclaim that he decided to make his collection public. It was his way of bringing readers closer to what life was like in his book; in essence it was a complimentary piece. The museum, much like his novel, wants viewers to experience the emotion and ‘humiliation’ of lost love. Throughout its 83 exhibits, each representing a chapter in the book, the viewer can partake and understand the culture, life, and feelings of an upper-middle class citizen of Turkey. Truly giving insight into the story that was written and all the emotions that went into it.

In 2014 the museum was awarded European Museum of The Year due to its cultural significance. Unlike other museums it does not house art pieces, simply on display, but instead personal, everyday items that reminisce of a certain way of life. If you would like to know more about The Museum of Innocence please visit: .

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