The Museum of Innocence awaits you in Istanbul
The Museum of Innocence awaits you in Istanbul
 If the world of letters are welcome in your world, Istanbul has got plenty of choices to excite you. Especially in literature. One of the exciting places you must visit in Istanbul is a sophisticated museum. The Museum of Innocence is both a novel by Orhan Pamuk and a museum he has set up. From the very beginnings of the project, since the 1990s, Pamuk has conceived of novel and museum together.

The novel, which is about love, is set between 1974 and the early ’00s, and describes life in Istanbul between 1950 and 2000 through memories and flashbacks centred around two families – one wealthy, the other lower middle class.

The museum presents what the novel’s characters used, wore, heard, saw, collected and dreamed of, all meticulously arranged in boxes and display cabinets. It is not essential to have read the book in order to enjoy the museum, just as it is not necessary to have visited the museum in order to fully enjoy the book. But those who have read the novel will better grasp the many connotations of the museum, and those who have visited the museum will discover many nuances they had missed when reading the book. The novel was published in 2008, the museum opened in Spring 2012.

Did Pamuk first write the novel and then set up the museum?

From the outset, Pamuk developed his idea for the novel and the museum in parallel. While he wrote the novel, he began to think of the museum and to collect pieces for it. This blurring of lines between the two has been explored both in the novel The Museum of Innocence and in the museum catalogue, The Innocence of Objects. What is 'new' about the Museum of Innocence? The museum creates an atmosphere to suit the novel's narrative by showing the objects and images that make up the story. It is both the museum of a fiction, and a little museum of 'Istanbul life in the second half of the 20th century'.

What is the logic behind the collection of objects displayed in the museum?

Pamuk started out by collecting objects from the past that he saw and liked in junk dealers' shops and friends' homes. Then he gradually began to form Kemal and Füsun's story. If at a junk dealer's he saw an object that he thought suited the novel, he bought it and described it in the text. He might stumble upon an object that would inspire a new story in the novel; or he might seek out objects to fit an existing story. The biggest and most authentic object in the museum is the building in which it is housed, where the Keskin family once lived and which was eventually transformed into the museum.

Why did the novelist Pamuk create a museum of this sort?

Pamuk has no straight answer to this question, so similar to that other question which is always asked when a novel is first published: 'Why did you write this book?' One of the answers Pamuk most often gives is: 'Because I love museums.' As he recounts in his autobiographical work Istanbul, Pamuk wanted to become a painter and an architect until, aged 23, he suddenly abandoned both dreams to become instead a novelist, but always harbouring visions of the latent artist within. Pamuk discusses this question in the opening of The Innocence of Objects, the museum's catalogue.

How to get there?
 

Address: Çukurcuma Caddesi, Dalgıç Çıkmazı, 2, 34425, Beyoğlu, İstanbul, Türkiye

Contact Info: Phone: 00 90 212 252 97 38 Fax: 00 90 212 252 97 48 Email: info@masumiyetmuzesi.org

The Museum of Innocence is in Istanbul, in the neighbourhood of Çukurcuma, between İstiklal Avenue and Tophane. Walking distances from nearby landmarks are, in minutes: 12 from Taksim, 8 from Galatasaray, 8 from Tophane, 10 from Istanbul Modern, 10 from Cihangir.  It is very easy to fint this museum for tourists on their vacation with this city guide. For those making their way to the museum by tram, the nearest stop is Tophane, an 8 minute walk away.  
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