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Museum of Innocence’s 1st anniversary

Posted on 27 April 2013

Museum Orhan Pamuk Visitors, who come to the Museum of Innocence to see the tragic love story of Füsun and Kemal, to remember and cherish the memory of a lost city, and also to ‘console themselves by the things’, will be able to hear the story of the Museum from the voice of Orhan Pamuk himself with audio guides that will be available as of September 2013.

Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Museum of Innocence’ opened the 27th of April 2012, four years after the release of the novel The Museum of Innocence in 2008.

During the first year, 40,000 people have visited the Museum and it is the most mentioned Turkish museum in the world press.

15,000 of these visitors were from abroad and 10,000 were students.  In addition to that, 6,500 of the visitors had their ticket stamped on the last chapter of their books and visited the Museum for free. The visitors have especially bought Füsun’s earrings and Kemal’s broken heart along with the posters and postcards in the Museum Shop. The most frequently asked question to the museum staff was about the missing photographs of Füsun and Kemal.

Hence, the leading names of the contemporary art and literature were among the visitors of the Museum – Glenn Lowry, Director of MOMA (New York); Dr. Achim Borchardt-Hume, Director of exhibitions of TATE (London); Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Curator of the 13th Documenta; Catherine Dezegher, Curator of the 5th Moscow Biannual and Umberto Eco are few to name. As Eco was accompanied by Orhan Pamuk at the tour to Museum of Innocence, he paid most attention on the ‘East-West’ Clock and once more proved that he is a good reader when he asked why Füsun’s earring was missing in the box no: 47.

Following the nomination of Museum of Innocence for the architecture category of the Designs of the Year Awards of the Design Museum London, the replica of the Box 14 (Edition 1/5) “Istanbul’s Streets, Bridges, Hills, and Squares” is being  exhibited at the Design Museum with the support of the British Council .

In addition, the 26th chapter of the Museum of Innocence ‘An Anatomical Chart of Love Pains’ has been the source of inspiration of an exhibition opened on the 13th of April in a contemporary art space named Model, in Ireland.

Reading Kemal Basmacı’s words, ‘Museums: 1. They are not for visiting, but for feeling and living’, the visitors came to the Museum, located in a historical building made in 1897, and met many forgotten details of the époque 1950-2000 in Istanbul. They found gas lamps in the Box No: 10‘City Lights and Happiness’; the pictures of actors and football players rolled in chewing gums at Box No:12‘Kissing on the Lips’; the ships of Istanbul at Box No:41 ‘Swimming on My Back’; the favorite family game bingo in Box No: 58, the passion of Turkish Classical Music in the Box No:67 Cologne. Lovers sat hand in hand in the penthouse where Kemal Basmacı has lived between 2000-2007 and contains the last four chapters of the novel.

Visitors viewed scenes depicting Istanbul’s past from the collages of old Turkish movies; pleasantly listening to the ferry sirens, clock ticking, footsteps of people walking on the pavement, children playing or music of taverns and sounds of people dining at restaurants at the Museum of Innocence, which is also a hub for the sounds and scenes of the city.

Visitors who traveled from different corners of the world only to see the Museum, inscribed their feelings at the memory book of the Museum: those being grateful for the existence of the Museum that cherishes Füsun’s memory and immortalizes the story; describing the Museum as ‘a temple created for the power of the word’ or confronting ‘not only with a love story but also the story of a city’ are few of these.

In The Museum of Innocence, which Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk has been working on for approximately fifteen years and which he describes as “a small and modest museum of daily life in İstanbul,” objects embodying daily life in İstanbul in the second half of the twentieth century are displayed in carefully designed show-cases. The museum’s eighty-three boxes, which correspond to each of the eighty-three chapters of the novel, display a collection of thousands of objects ranging from cinema tickets to matchsticks, liquor bottles to doorknobs, and small ornaments to photographs.

It is irritating though that one year after the official opening there are still half a dozen of show-cases empty. Come on Mr. Pamuk please fill them up with items and photos from the chapters. We are waiting for them to be completed and visit your wonderful museum again!


Firuzağa Mahallesi, Çukurcuma Caddesi No: 24 34425 Çukurcuma/ İstanbul

Telephone: Museum (switchboard): 0090 212 252 9738

Visiting Dates and Hours:

Tue – Sun 10.00 – 18.00
Thursdays 10.00 – 21.00
Closed on Mondays

For further information

0090 212 252 9738


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One response to “Museum of Innocence’s 1st anniversary”

  1. Oliver says:

    They are still empty. A project unfinished.

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