Micro-museum in Ankara: big ideas, small spaces

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Businessman Ali Armağan Daloğlu’s interest in collecting, which began with a wooden piggy bank, inspired his later work on collecting and museology.

Daloğlu, who founded Turkey’s first piggy bank-themed museum, launched the BirKültür initiative platform, which provides direct services to museums on issues such as preventive conservation and restoration activities, digital documentation, processing and inventory creation processes, based on the idea that museums can also have piggy banks.

One of Turkey’s smallest museums, ‘Museum Kumbaram’, is leading the trend of micro-museums that has recently begun to grow around the world, Ankara, Turkey, March 22, 2022. (AA Photo)

Özlem Dengiz Uğur, director of the museum, said that by digitizing traditional museums, they aim to create spaces that people of all backgrounds and ages can benefit from.

In accordance with the legislation, a virtual museum cannot be opened if the museum does not exist physically. In this sense, the concept of “micro-museum” changes this understanding and focuses more on presenting the stories of objects and creating a unique experience for its visitors rather than viewing many objects side by side, a added Uğur.


One of the smallest museums in Turkey, the
One of Turkey’s smallest museums, ‘Museum Kumbaram’, is leading the trend of micro-museums that has recently begun to grow around the world, Ankara, Turkey, March 22, 2022. (AA Photo)

Compared to the physical smallness of micro-museums, the digital version offers a comprehensive museum infrastructure, reaching large communities, rather than a limited audience by creating dynamic environments with a multidisciplinary perspective, Uğur noted.

Emphasizing that micro-museums and virtual museums can be a good opportunity for museum education, which has not yet received its appreciation in Turkey, Uğur said that it is a field of education widely practiced around the world. “Children who live abroad see museums in their cities as an educational space whose curriculum is aligned with their curriculum. Moreover, it is not a learning environment for children, but for adults and certain disadvantaged patient groups,” Uğur said.


One of the smallest museums in Turkey, the
One of Turkey’s smallest museums, ‘Museum Kumbaram’, is leading the trend of micro-museums that has recently begun to grow around the world, Ankara, Turkey, March 22, 2022. (AA Photo)

The museum was inaugurated on April 12, 2021.

“Museum Kumbaram (My Piggy Bank Museum) is Turkey’s smallest museum in terms of physical space emphasizing the power of hybrid museology with its ever-expanding and limitless possibilities in the digital realm,” emphasized Ugur.

The museum has more than 2,000 piggy banks, while only 10 of them are saved and displayed, and the museum director stresses that it is not a “piggy bank museum”. The name is based on the metaphor that museums serve as piggy banks that collect culture and memory.

The museum offers orientation services to its visitors while also planning to offer training for different age groups on the culture of saving and saving for environmental protection.


One of the smallest museums in Turkey, the
One of Turkey’s smallest museums, ‘Museum Kumbaram’, is leading the trend of micro-museums that has recently begun to grow around the world, Ankara, Turkey, March 22, 2022. (AA Photo)

“It is impractical to turn museums into big chunks of collections when there are many preservation and exhibition procedures,” Uğur said.

Emphasizing that virtual museums should be used in a more functional way, rather than simply taking the digital mold of their realities and constructing them as places that can only be navigated with a computer mouse. “When you click on an object in the exhibition area of ​​Muze Kumbaram, you can see its entire label. In this regard, we come to the fore with our digital infrastructure. We are constantly trying to update it”, a- he declared.

BirKultür Initiative Platform provides technical and official services to individuals and institutions for those wishing to present their collections.

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