#31 Istanbul Archaeological Museum

My name is Rachel Scott and I would like to adopt Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

Istanbul Archaeological Museum (Photograph by Rachel Scott)

Istanbul Archaeological Museum (Photograph by Rachel Scott)


Tell us a bit more about yourself

I live in the Washington, D.C. metro area where I am surrounded by amazing museums. I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Hawaii-West Oahu in Anthropology and a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins in Museum Studies. After several years working as a field archaeologist, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career as a museum curator for archaeological collections. Most recently, I completed a series of projects for the National Museum of the Marine Corps. I prefer self-employment as a contractor/ consultant as it allows me the ability to work with a variety of museums and collections.

Tell us a bit more about your adopted museum
The Istanbul Archaeological Museum is quite literally a hidden gem among Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square. Tickets were 10 TL ($5.00 USD) sold at the gate. Coming from the crowded streets, visitors will be awe-struck by the spacious courtyard and grand neo- classic building. The museum features an extensive classical collection, ancient orient collection, and an Islamic art collection. Most notable among its incredible collection is the Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great, followed by the Sarcophagus of the Crying Women.

Why have you chosen to adopt this museum?
The day I heard about the Adopt-a-Museum program, I had been reading the book Loot by Sharon Waxman, and came across a passage about the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. In it, she proclaims that the Istanbul Archaeological Museum has “one of the most important antiquities collections in the world,” and went on to describe several world-class exhibits featured there of archaeological treasures unearthed in Turkey… and no one comes to see them. There are so few visitors, in fact, that the museum cannot afford to maintain security and air-conditioning in many of its galleries forcing them to stand empty and/or be closed to the public. While museum attendance declines, neighbouring sites like Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia are packed full of tourists every day. It’s tragic that more visitors to Istanbul don’t know about this incredible museum that they likely pass by almost daily as they tour the square!

Why would you recommend people visit?
A trip to Istanbul is not complete without a visit to this museum. The collection beautifully displays the history of civilizations at this Eurasian crossroads, including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. The audio tour is a must!! Even the history of the building itself is beautifully displayed. The Istanbul Archaeological Museum is certainly among the greats in the world–such as the Louvre, British Museum, or any of the Smithsonian museums—and its heritage is as rich, as it is one of the earliest museums purposefully built as a museum by the government for the people of Turkey and the world.

How would you sum up your museum in three words?
Surprising, Rich, World-class

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