TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  A Few Museum Stories
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  01-19-2001 on 09:47 a.m.
Dear All,

I'd like to share a few of my own experiences, some good, some not so good, for whatever interest they may have.

On my first visit to Turkey I was eagerly looking forward to visiting Topkapi Palace to see the wonderful rugs, particularly the inscribed prayer rugs. Nobody at Topkapi seemed to even know the things existed, and I buttonholed every employee I could find.

When in Hamburg for ICOC a few years back I went to the anthropology museum (Museum fur Volkerkunde) to see their famous collection of African art. The gallery containing it was showing scale models of what the Hamburg streets would look like after some planned municipal projects, and the cases with the African stuff had poster boards about 6 feet high in front of them. The museum staff very kindly allowed me and my wife to go behind the poster boards so we could see the African stuff.

The same Museum fur Volkerkunde also housed the Turkmen textiles catalogued in Wie Blumen in der Wuste. The curatorial staff set that exhibition up, refusing to let any of the ICOC people even see it until opening night. Among their innovations was sprinkling sand on the floor, presumably to impart a desert atmosphere. The larger carpets were hung on the walls with perhaps one foot of their lengths in the sand. Within the first hour of the exhibition, the lenders busily rolled up their carpets and fled with them to safety. The museum also displayed a number of pieces sort of thrown into piles on the floor (like laundry waiting to be sorted), and some that were rolled up (what a great way to see an 18th century asmalyk - it could just as well have been a window shade). On the other hand, they did have ample lighting.

Steve Price

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