Culture & Travel2 February 2023
There have been numerous "barrier-free" social responsibility initiatives carried out in our country, particularly since the 2000s. The most important of these is converting museums, which serve as hubs of culture and education, into open areas that are accessible to all. This article is devoted to introducing 5 museums that, in accordance with the motto "art for everyone" remove barriers to art and culture, adapt their facilities to the needs of visitors with disabilities, and care about those visitors' needs.
Homer's epic Iliad contains a description of the Trojan War that is well known to all. And, the renowned statue of a horse too. Let's quickly recap for those who are unfamiliar: After a long period of fighting between the Achaeans and the Trojans, the Achaean commander Odysseus comes up with a brilliant plan. He crafts a massive wooden horse as a gift from the goddess Athena for the Trojans. The best Achaean warriors are concealed inside this enormous wooden horse statue, which the Trojans, who believe they have won the war and who gratefully accept this gift into their city, are unaware of.
The Troy Horse, also known as the Trojan Horse, can be seen today at the entrance to the ruins as well as in the city's main square. It has even been the subject of movies. The most popular ruin in our country is the ancient city of Troy, which is protected and listed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. As a result, one of the crucial stops on this cultural tour is the Troy Museum, which houses the artifacts discovered here. The 90 thousand square meter Troy Museum takes visitors on an extraordinary journey through time, following a narrative broken down into seven chapters and tracing the history of Troy in the ancient times. The structure's "disabled-friendly" attributes make it interesting to look at in addition to its modern museology design. People with disabilities can enjoy the entire museum and have a seamless tour thanks to the smoothness of the floor, ramps, and elevators that are located throughout the museum and begin at the entrance. You can use the audio guide app to your advantage as well. The Troy Museum is open daily until 17.30 and the museum card is valid, but it's a good idea to check the website for the most up-to-date pricing details.
One of the most significant museums in the area is the Batman Museum, which houses a sizable collection of artifacts dating from the Paleolithic Era to the Middle Ages. The Batman Museum is significant as Turkiye's first Museum Park Project because it houses artifacts from archaeological digs conducted in Batman and Siirt as well as in mounds that will soon be submerged under dam waters. The museum is also the first phase of the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums' "Museum without Barriers Project," offering a comprehensive experience with its extensive library, projection room for watching documentaries, and laboratory for restoration work.
All exhibition halls are made accessible from the entrance gate using yellow paths. Because the museum map is written in the Braille alphabet, disabled people can comfortably and independently visit all areas of the museum, including the restrooms and study rooms. Visitors can read the embossed texts on the handrails to find out which floor they are on and to learn more about the museum's artifacts. Another choice is audio guidance. Except on Mondays, every day of the week from 08:00–17:00 is free to enter the Batman Museum.
Sakıp Sabancı Museum
The Sakıp Sabancı Museum, which welcomes guests to a mansion constructed by the Egyptian Khedive family in Emirgan in 1925, is one of the most well-known museums in the entire country thanks to its extensive collections of paintings, calligraphy, and temporary exhibitions. You can find the opportunity to see many rare works of art in the museum, which is also known as the "Equestrian Mansion" due to the horse sculpture of a French sculptor that is located directly in front of the building. Among the most notable pieces in this museum are prayer books by well-known calligraphers from the 14th to the 20th centuries, artwork by early Turkish and foreign artists who resided in Istanbul, antique items like chandeliers and vases, Emirgan photographs from the early 1900s to the present day, and the Abidin Dino archive.
Wheelchair users can access all exhibition halls at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, and there are ramps and elevators available for their convenience. Let's also mention that there is no entrance fee for guests with disabilities and their companions.
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
Being the first museum in Turkiye to have such an extensive collection, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is noteworthy. The museum features rare artifacts from the Abbasid, Mamluk, Seljuk, and Ottoman eras. The museum, which was established in the 16th century in the Süleymaniye Mosque complex, one of Mimar Sinan's most significant works, and later relocated to the Ibrahim Pasha Palace in Sultanahmet in 1983, has also received awards like the "Council of Europe Museum of the Year Competition Special Jury Prize" and the "Award for endearing Cultural Heritage to Children" from UNESCO.The museum, which stands out with its uniquely rich collection of Turkish carpets, rare manuscripts and other precious objects, is among our disabled-friendly museums with its disabled support system on the connecting stairs of the main building. The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, where Müzekart is valid, can be visited every day of the week between 09:00-18:30, but it is useful to check the current fee information on the website before you go.
Our final museum is the Pera Museum, which is housed in the lower Tarlabaşı neighborhood's 1893-built Hotel Bristol building. The Pera Museum, one of Istanbul's vibrant cultural and artistic hubs, regularly hosts a range of temporary exhibitions and events while also capturing the attention of art enthusiasts with its permanent collections. Among the most striking pieces in the museum are the works by Osman Hamdi Bey on display in the Orientalist Painting Collection, including the well-known painting of The Tortoise Trainer.
With its café and auditorium where classic experimental cinema and short films are screened, Pera Museum, one of the centers of the arts in Beyoğlu, serves as a timely reminder that everyone can enjoy art through the "Pera Enabled" project. The museum hosts workshops for people who are physically and mentally challenged as part of this project, and every floor of the museum, starting with the first, has been specially designed with elevators, ramps, and rail systems. People with disabilities and their companions are not charged admission to the Pera Museum, where entrance fees change on a regular basis. Additionally, everyone is welcome to visit the museum for free on Fridays from 18:00 to 22:00, known as "Long Fridays."