In 2008, Nobel-laureate author Orhan Pamuk published The Museum of Innocence – a novel exploring erotic obsession and the mysterious allure of collecting. Four years later, he opened a real Museum of Innocence in Istanbul – a curious little museum based on the one described in his novel. It displays what the characters “used, wore, heard, saw, collected and dreamed of”, in boxes and display cabinets. The museum is inspired by obscure, small personal museums around the world that are filled with collected treasures.
“I love museums and I am not alone in finding that they make me happier with each passing day,” Pamuk wrote in his manifesto. “In my childhood, there were very few museums in Istanbul. Most of these were historical monuments or, quite rare outside the Western world, they were places with an air of a government office about them. Later, the small museums in the backstreets of European cities led me to realize that museums—just like novels—can also speak for individuals.”
Here at BoutiqueHomes, we know what he’s talking about. We’re obsessed with deeply personal houses bursting with memories, and devotional shrines filled with curious treasures. We love objects and collecting, and visit quirky off-the-beaten-track museums whenever we can.
So when, in the last chapters of the book, we found a series of museums that the protagonist visits for inspiration, we couldn’t resist finding out more about them. Our curiosity piqued by this little goldmine of “collections that no one ever visits”, we decided to locate them and plan a tour of the best of them – starting, of course, in Istanbul.
For part 2 in our series about small personal museums around the world, click here.