Day: April 4, 2014

Small Museums

“Small Museums”

by Orhan Pamuk via “New York Times

“In the age of mega-institutions and competitive building, the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk pays homage to the more personal places, like his own Museum of Innocence, whose character and content evoke a deeper experience.

My favorite museums tend to be small, the kind that showcase the inventiveness and the life stories of private individuals. Though I admire national museums like the Louvre or the British Museum, when I’m traveling and whenever I set foot in a new city, the first places I rush to see are not these institutions that fill me with a sense of the power of the state and of the history of its people, but those that will allow me to experience the private world and the vision of a passionate individual. I have so much respect for the efforts of those creative people who devoted the final decades of their lives to the task of turning their homes and their studios into museums for the public to visit after their deaths. These small museums are usually hidden on side streets just outside the center of large Western cities. They have the power to make us rediscover a feeling that the big national museums, looking more and more like fun-filled shopping malls with each passing day, can no longer make us feel, and that we have begun to forget. Museums must not confine themselves to showing us pictures and objects from the past; they must also convey the ambiance of the lost time from which those objects have come to us. And this can only happen through personal stories.

The newly reopened Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, for example, is a dazzling demonstration of (more…)