Istanbul Cinema Museum

The Istanbul Cinema Museum: Bridging Past and Present Through Interactive Storytelling

The Istanbul Cinema Museum aims to tell a multifaceted story in accordance with the historical significance of its building, enhanced by emerging technologies. The museum's permanent collection explores the evolution of cinema, from its rudimentary beginnings to its golden age, and includes a special focus on the nostalgic era of Turkish ‘Yeşilçam’ Cinema. Visitors can interact with films through various objects such as wax figures, green screens, and augmented reality. Temporary exhibitions offer unique, exclusively curated experiences distinct from similar themed exhibitions.

The museum's collection is designed to appeal to all ages, nationalities, and interest groups. Items related to international cinema history provide international appeal, while Turkish adults enjoy the nostalgia of the ‘Yeşilçam’ collection. The digital floor's gamification appeals to younger visitors, who are also fascinated by the digitized version of the historical Turkish shadow play, ‘Hacivat and Karagöz.’ The museum caters to cinema history enthusiasts with unique Turkish cinema items, memorabilia, and footage, while temporary exhibitions like those featuring Stanley Kubrick, Star Wars, and Steve McCurry attract fans of pop culture and cult classics.

The museum not only tells the story of cinema's development and golden age but also honors Turkish cinema through a collection of international awards won by Turkish directors and actors. The building itself, constructed in 1870 after the Great Fire of Beyoğlu, is a historical landmark. Commissioned by Armenian banker Agop Köçeyan, it was designed in a 19th-century Neoclassical style with Rococo and Baroque touches. The building has served various purposes, from a British court to a church, post-office, and theater, creating a rich historical narrative akin to plots of different films shown in the same theater.

Historical museum objects in the collection link the past to the present, showcasing the evolution of cinematography. Items include a camera obscura, zoetrope, praxinoscope, kaleidoscope, zograscope, phenakistoscope, magic lantern, flipbook, and anamorphosis. The collection also features significant historical cameras like the Moy&Bastie camera, Super Parvo silent film camera, and the Lumiere Brothers' cinematograph, known for shaping the film industry. Iconic films such as “The Arrival of a Train” and “A Trip to the Moon” are also showcased, reinforcing the chronological development of cinema and enhancing the museum's narrative.

The presentation of ‘Yeşilçam’ objects evokes nostalgia and highlights developments in costume and poster design. The first floor, known as the digital floor, features interactive digital objects. Augmented reality allows visitors to experience excerpts from Yeşilçam cinema, while a virtual model of the Grand Bazaar reveals scenes from films shot there. The ‘Yeşilçam Telephone Room’ uses rotary phones to display scenes from Turkish cinema classics, and the memory pool digitally displays 8,406 Turkish films. The Turkish Cinema Atlas shows the locations of movie theaters in Istanbul from 1870-1970.

By using modern technology to tell its story, the museum bridges the gap between past and present, highlighting contrasts between eras. Digitalization is not just a contemporary aspect but a tool to connect past and present, shaping our understanding of historical cinema through interactive design.

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