The Istanbul Museum of Science is located in Gulhane Park which is part of the Topkapi Palace complex. It is a fairly nondescript building marked by a small replica of the Galata Tower out front, and a dome structure I was never able to identify.
Upon entering the building, I find a variety of globes in the entryway, but unlike the ones in Florence, none of them are enclosed in glass, or even roped off.
The first room is filled with astrolabes, which is my favorite navigational device. There are cases of them, and unlike the Museo Galileo in Florence which displayed mostly replicas, about a third of these are originals. I start snapping pictures of the originals and their accompanying signage, but take very few notes as I expect that information will be in the museum catalog. Perhaps I’ll even be fortunate enough to find a replica in the gift shop after failing to find one in Florence.
The next room is filled with sundials and clocks. The next room after that, models of siege weapons. No cases! No ropes! I am furiously fighting the urge to sit on the floor and play with All The Things…
I wander through rooms of medical instruments, weather instruments, early steam engines, distilleries, kilns, a few books, a few maps. I reach the end.
Where’s the museum store? No gift shop? No catalog? ARGH! Had I known that I would have taken better notes. To go back through a second time would have taken most of the rest of my day, which I now regret not doing.
I did find my astrolabe several years later—not in a science museum– but in an antiques and carpet store in the mountain city of Chefchaouen, Morocco. The shop owner was Moroccan named Abdamin, who after finding out I was from Seattle, asked if I knew his girlfriend in Tacoma, Washington. But that’s a story for some other day...
* * *
Heather Daveno is from Seattle, Washington, where she works as an office manager by day
and a self taught hatmaker by night. She spent most of her pandemic lockdown in 2020-2021 creating 800 masks for the Masks4Millions project.
In a normal year, her travels inspire her hats, which she handcrafts from reclaimed textiles and found objects. You can find her hats and masks for sale at August Phoenix Hats. She is currently reissuing her original journals as “Director’s Cuts” with expanded text and previously unpublished photos, which you can read for free at Daveno Travels.