|Abstract:||This study considers how the various forms of the museum within the Turkish context serve in the production of a decentralized national narrative that becomes replicated to reify Turkish identity through multiple, non-hierarchized heritage sources. Through the overlay of institutions established during these periods, contemporary Turkish museums, whether public or private, serve as museums of the nation not because of their conceptual cohesion or administrative centralization, but because through this layering, they express the many competing threads through which national culture and heritage construct a complex, and at times contradictory, national narrative which enables competing segments of the population to coexist. The study provides a chronological survey of the development of museums with a special focus on five key case studies that each reflects changing relationships between the state, the nation, and the concept of the museum in various eras of Turkey’s history.|
In the Republic of Turkey, the Ottoman emphasis on museums of archaeology and military spolia became transformed into an emphasis on historic museums as a means of glorifying early imperial history and differentiating the republic from its Ottoman past; ethnographic-archaeological museums as a means of inscribing a unified historical and ethnological map of the country, particularly Anatolia; and, more recently, using art (in lieu of archaeology) as a signal of participation in European cultural practices, particularly among urban elite audiences. As explored in this report, these types can be best understood as a complex palimpsest of the four historical eras of national identity production during which different museum typologies were introduced for different needs: the late Ottoman era (1839-1922); the early Republican era (1922-1960); the era between two eras of military rule (1961-1983) and the current era (1984- 2010). The study will also focus on five key case studies that each reflects changing relationships between the state, the nation, and the concept of the museum in various eras of Turkey’s history: the Ottoman Imperial Museum (1846); the Topkapi Palace Museum (1924); the Ethnographic Museum (1928); the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (1968) and the Istanbul Modern Museum of Art (2004).