Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in

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.

Globe
PHOTOGRAPH BY Heather Daveno

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.

An astrolabe, an old navigational device
PHOTOGRAPH BY Heather Daveno
Another example of an astrolabe
PHOTOGRAPH BY Heather Daveno

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…

Model of an ancient siege weapon
PHOTOGRAPH BY Heather Daveno
Another model of a siege weapon
PHOTOGRAPH BY Heather Daveno

I wander through rooms of medical instruments, weather instruments, early steam engines, distilleries, kilns, a few books, a few maps. I reach the end.

A model of a furnace
PHOTOGRAPH BY Heather Daveno

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...

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Heather Daveno

Heather Daveno is from Seattle, Washington, where she works as an office manager by day and a self taught hatmaker by night. Her travels inspire her hats, which she handcrafts from reclaimed textiles and found objects. You can find her hats and full texts of her travel journals at August Phoenix Hats, with links to additional travel photos at Daveno Travels.