The value of museums
Insight, understanding and inspiration
Model submarine , Rahmi M. Koç Museum , Ankara
The ammunition of the museum
People often have a one-sided view of each other's countries and cultures. This creates distance, mistrust and is ultimately the basis of even more misunderstanding. Museums have an important role in this. They are the collectors, administrators and presenters of cultural heritages. Their colllections consist of tangible and intangible testimonies of the worlds past and present and contain stories about people and their environment. They are the ammunition of the museums to engage in the fight against ignorance, which too often lead to hostility and intolerance.
Stereotypical opinions about each other's background and culture, are often based on insufficient knowledge and incorrect interpretation. Take the average image that, in my experience, exists in the heads of many people from for example the People in Turkey, especially since the failed putsch and what happens at the moment. That image is determined unfortunately by headscarves and Islam. While Turkey is - also now a large minority - perhaps a majority - keep his mouth shut - has a multifaceted cultural history with so many more dimensions than an outsider would expect.
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
in May 1997 in Lausanne, the European Museum of the Year Award was presented to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, one of the finest museum in Ankara. Kenneth Hudson (1913-1999), founder of the European Museum Forum, that presents this award annually since 1977, said this: "While there is politically wrangling between Greek and Turkish representatives, this man," and he put his arm around the shoulders of the emotional museum director of this wonderful museum, "is capable to let Greek and Turkish scientists work shoulder to shoulder on the excavations for the museum." The museum is a very important player in the field of archeology and one of the main tourist attractions in Ankara.
Understanding and tolerance
This anecdote is an example of how important a museum can be. Museums provide information, promote understanding and provide inspiration by intercultural cooperation and by telling stories that are recognizable to people anywhere in the world. Museums can depict stories in a particular combination of heritage and arts. This is why they can make a positive contribution to the understanding and tolerance between people with different cultural backgrounds and ideas. Understanding and tolerance are the pillars on which we build the world of tomorrow.
The future does not happen to us. We make it ourselves.
August 3, 2016