I recently had the chance to visit a museum near where I live in Turkey called the Kocaeli Bilim Merkezi (Kocaeli Science Center). The museum is not actually a new facility but rather a conservation of an older building. It used to be a large paper factory in Izmit that produced tens of thousands of tons of paper every year. In time the equipment became outdated and the factory was gradually less important until it finally ceased production. Afterwards it came under the ownership of Kocaeli, the state government as it were, which decided to renovate the factory and turn it into a large museum. The museum as a whole largely resembles the old factory since it wasn’t entirely remodeled and adds a nice touch in my opinion, showing the contrast between older and modern architecture. I didn’t tour the entire museum and this isn’t intended as an official museum entry which is why this article will be public. You should be able to gain a small glance at what you can expect if you subscribe.
The part of the museum which showcases its history is called the SEKA Paper Museum, also known as the SEKA Mehmet Ali Kağıtçı Paper Museum, named after the first Turkish paper engineer and a major driving force behind the factory. SEKA is an abbreviation of the Turkish words sellüloz (cellulose or pulp) and kağıt (paper). The new museum is Turkey’s first paper museum and the largest of its kind in the world. As a quick aside the enormous park next to the factory along the sea is called Seka Park. I don’t know for sure if it was named after the factory but I think it’s a good bet. Here you can see a large amount of processing equipment, a row of old electric monitors as well as the history of paper in the Ottoman Empire. They have saved quite a lot of artifacts from the period to showcase what the factory used to do.
The other parts of the museum are just as interesting, if not more. In the same room as the electrical monitors there are several illustrations, artifacts and a good amount of Turkish (translated to English beside it!) detailing the history of Izmit, the largest city in Kocaeli and the museum’s home. The other portion of the museum is split into 3 parts:
- A science hall featuring science exhibits across biology, geology, meteorology, hydrology and astronomy
- An illusion hall featuring optical and audio illusions as well as experiments to demonstrate various phenomena.
- An invention hall talking about innovations made in the Islamic world.
I took photos and video of the trip for you to see and share so enjoy!
- Several videos demonstrating how an AR sandbox works
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