Saturday, May 26, 2012

Visiting Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence

This April I traveled to Turkey to participate in a trek along the Lycian Way on the southwest coast of Turkey (which I will write about in a subsequent post) and to experience the opening day of Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence. For those who might not know, Orhan Pamuk is a writer from Istanbul who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011. He is author of many novels and a collection of essays. His latest novel Museum of Innocence, a story about love and obsession, gave rise to the world's first museum based on a fictional character.

I didn't travel to Istanbul just to see the museum created by a nobel prize winner, I went to celebrate the grand opening with my Turkish friend, Deniz Aral, the managing director of the Museum, the woman who pulled it all together.

"I wore many hats. Upon accepting the position, I became a construction manager, a museum catalogist, a personnel manager, a gift store entrepreneur, a paralegal, a publicist, and trouble shooter."

Pleased with the way the Museum turned out, Deniz greeted scores of guests on Saturday, April 28th, including Orhan Pamuk's attorneys. The public was admitted in groups of about 60 to respect the fire codes in the neighborhood in which the museum, a period piece house, is located (see image below). It made for pleasant viewing of the many vitrines exhibiting memorabilia that pertained to the novel and the time period of the book's setting. My favorite piece was the wall of cigarette butts, which Pamuk's character Kemal pocketed after his lover snuffed them out. (There is a photo of this wall provided in the second link below.)

Even the crowd outside the Museum of Innocence was a kind of attraction. Here Deniz joked with a neighborhood dog trainer after the closing on opening day.


The following New York Times article offers more details of the event and about Orhan Pamuk:

This link offers images inside the Museum:

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