The Pera Museum opened its doors in early June 2005, as the first step of a comprehensive cultural endeavor of the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation in this distinguished venue of the city of Istanbul in order to provide wide-ranging cultural services and activities. This cultural endeavor, Pera Museum, is situated in a historical building structure which was originally constructed in 1893 by the architect Achille Manoussos in Tepebaşı (İstanbul's most prestigious district in those days) and which was, until rather recently, known as the “Bristol Hotel”, was completely renovated to serve as a museum and cultural center for the project. Transformed into a fully-equipped modern museum, this venerable building is now serving the people of İstanbul once again.
Pera Museum encompasses: the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation’s three particular collections on the 1st and 2nd museum floors (2nd floor is the Sevgi and Erdoğan Gönül Gallery), for temporary exhibitions (3rd, 4th, 5th floors), auditorium / Pera Education (under ground floor) and located at the ground floor are the Reception, Art Shop and Pera Café.
The Museum’s first floor displays largely examples from the Foundation's collection of Anatolian Weights and Measures made from many different materials using many different techniques, these objects show the development of the devices used to weigh and measure in Anatolia since the earliest times to twentieth century. In another wing on the same floor is the Foundation's collection of Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics, whose strikingly beautiful pieces seek to shed new light on an area of creativity in Turkish cultural history that is not very well known.
In addition to its function as a private museum which entails exhibiting the Foundation Collections, Pera Museum as a modern cultural center located in a vibrant part of the city, also aims to provide the people of İstanbul with a broad range of cultural services that include a variety of temporary exhibitions as well as film, educational, conference and lecture programs.
Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation
Collection of Anatolian Weights and Measures
The Anatolian weights and measures collection that Suna and İnan Kıraç began to create in the 1980s has grown rapidly over the years with the purchase of pieces accumulated by some collectors as well as regular purchases from other sources both in Turkey and abroad, and is now one of the most remarkable collections of its type in Turkey.
Today this collection consists of more than eight thousand objects dating from prehistory to the present day used in Anatolia. These comprise the main types of scales and measuring instruments used for measuring weights, length and volume in every field from land measurement to commerce, architecture to jewellery making, and shipping to pharmacy.
The collection, a very valuable source of historical and scientific knowledge, illustrates the relations between measuring systems of different periods and regions, presenting the various changes and continuities. The exhibited broad selection includes examples from all periods in chronological order, embracing an exciting and particular aspect of Anatolia’s history.
Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation
Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics Collection
The beginnings of the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation's Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics Collection date back to the 1980s, when it was formed with Suna Kıraç’s desire, and over the years has grown to become one of the most outstanding collection its kind. Today the collection consists of over a thousand remarkable pieces representing various periods - mainly the 18th to 20th centuries - and types. It illustrates in detail the development of Kütahya tiles and ceramics, a creative area of Ottoman culture that until recently had not attracted the attention and interest it originally deserved. The limited number of pieces on display have been chosen to give a general idea of the collection and the craftsmanship of Kütahya ceramics. Other future exhibited selections will give broader representations of the collection, shedding new light on diverse aspects of Kütahya tiles and ceramics, an important part of our traditional cultural heritage.
The Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation
Orientalist Painting Collection
The Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation's Orientalist Painting Collection is one of the most elaborate collections in Turkey. This grand collection brings together important works by European artists inspired by the Ottoman world, Turkey’s regional geography as well as works of Ottoman artists and how they influenced one another from the 17th century to the early 19th.
The Collection presents a vast visual panorama of the last two centuries of the Ottoman Empire, also includes works by Osman Hamdi and his most famous painting “The Tortoise Trainer”. As the Collection is focused particularly on the Ottoman Orientalist art, it sustains an exceptional stance. Pera Museum organizes long-term thematic exhibitions of this Collection at the Sevgi and Erdoğan Gönül Gallery.
Museum education entails bringing and introducing art to children and teens, creating awareness for Museum-going and building bridges between the audience and the works of art. The educational events based on interpretation and creative expressions include selecting works of art and assessments as well. With hands-on experience this programming aims to weave the museum into the social activity. Apart from on-going programs of the Museum Collections, Pera Education also organizes temporary exhibition programs throughout the year, welcoming a wide range of age groups
Pera Film began its programming in October 2008 and since then has strived to inform and entertain the museum audience by underlining the importance and diversity of film and video with monthly programs featuring classic and experimental cinema, animation, documentaries, short films and video art screenings. The programming also presents parallel screenings to the temporary exhibitions. A few examples of Pera Film’s programming are Classics from Germany 1931-1943, Hors Pistes / Out of Tracks in collaboration with Centre Pompidou, International Istanbul Animation Festival, New and Independent Film Series, In Memoriam: Bergman and Women, Spanish Directors: First Films, Lure of the East in British Cinema, Romanian and Hungarian Cinemas, In Memory of Eric Rohmer, Colombian Diaspora and Contemporary Turkish Cinema.