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  • Writer's pictureTerry Richardson

A Brief History of Rahmi M. Koç Museum in Istanbul

What is Rahmi M. Koç Museum?

Rahmi M. Koç Museum is an industrial museum set beside the Golden Horn, on the site of a 19th-century dockyard.

Rahmi M. Koç Museum

Rahmi M. Koç Museum History

Established by the wealthy Turkish industrialist Rahmi M. Koç in the early 1990s to showcase what had until then been his private collection of vehicles and machinery, this museum is the only one of its kind in the country. Situated here in Hasköy, on the north bank of the great curving inlet of the Golden Horn, an area once dominated by shipyards, the 14 buildings of this historic dockyard were converted into exhibition halls for the museum. Other exhibition space includes a modern glass structure, and the domed Lengerhane, a converted 18th-century stone building that was once used to manufacture chains and anchors.

The sprawling museum site is split into different themed sections, each charting the technological advances in a particular field. ‘Road Transportation’, for example, has everything from a horse-drawn hansom cab from the 19th century to classic cars such as a 1955 Messerschmitt bubble car and a 1965 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III.

In ‘Aviation’ you’ll find a B24 Liberator shot down and ditched in the Mediterranean off Antalya in 1943. It was salvaged in the ‘90s when one of the survivors of the crash landing helped to restore the plane. Moored in the waters of the Golden Horn are craft from the ‘Maritime’ section, including a Second World War-era Tench-class submarine, USS Thornback, used by the Turkish navy until 2001.

‘Communication Instruments’ has an Edison telegraph machine patented in 1876 and a dictaphone produced by the Columbia Graphophone Company, along with many other such devices that document the evolution of communications in the industrial age. Historic steamboats take visitors up and down the Golden Horn, and there’s a working section of railway, plus recreations of an early-20th-century Istanbul high street, a rowing boat workshop and a working ship’s bridge.

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