Ankara – The Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA) General Directorate History of Nature Museum

The previous works related to the establishing the Natural History Museum first started with intentions of establishing the unit within the construction of a set of new buildings being planned to house the expanding M.T.A. institution in 1960.

This idea having been realized and the purpose achieved, the Museum was first opened to the public on 7 th February, 1968. The possessed fossils, minerals and rock samples of the Museum have been collected during the geological works since the MTA's establishment in 1935. The scientific materials gathered from these technical explorations have been saved with a great care, up to now. At present, the materials with their reports, belonged to the Turkish and foreign geologists taking parts in various M.T.A.'s projects, have been recorded and then orderly filed. Among these samples, the most conspicuous and the best presented ones are displayed in the show cases.

Hereby, The Museum, comprising any sorts of materials related to the geological eras and the required ones consisting with the international standarts, is a scientific and educational unit.

The museum covers an area of 4000 m2 and consists of three storeys. The whole ground floor has been reserved for paleontology. In this section, about 3000 fossil samples are firstly introduced systematically then orderly, consisting of the fauna and flora in the historical geology. From Dinosaurs, an Allosaur fossil casting bought from the U.S.A., a Mastodon fossil casting presented gift of the Natural History Museum of France and the skeleton of the Maraş elephant, which has attracted many other Nation's Natural History Museum's admiration as well as requests, were set up in this section. A giant Ammonite fossil, 1.5 metres in diamer and having lived in the vicinity of Ankara about 193 years ago, and a set of footprints presumably belonging to early men who lived in Anatolia 25,000 years before our time, can also be seen on the ground floor. The footprints found in the Manisa Salihli Çakallar hill are the only in the world up till now. The site, with our General Directorate's undertakings and efforts, is now being preserved as an open museum. Fossils such as 10-15 million years old, rich fauna and flora of fishes, frogs, plants and ants are displayed among the well known diatomites of Kızılcahamam, as well as 65-90 million years old Hippurites which indicate a certain climate belt of the upper cretaceous and carry an evolutionary reduction at present, are displayed on the ground floor.

The first floor is reserved for mineralogy and petrology. 2650 minerals and rock samples, consisting with the international standards are exhibited systematically. The typical precious, semiprecious stones of Turkey, different kinds of marbles of the country, a lighted Turkish maps showing the ore minerals found by M.T.A. and the materials showing the way to our mining history are also exhibited here.

The karstic events which are extremely interesting for Turkey, are introduced in this section with the same forms of their original appearances.
The basement is the section of the dioramic representations. Here, the still living, but extinguishing typical animals of our country are introduced within their natural environments.

The Museum is administered by the Museum Executive Committee which is dependent upon the General Directorate. The members of the committee have been appointed from different departments of M.T.A. by the General Directorate, and from among technical personnel who are specialists in their majors and also carry at least 20 years of experience in their disciplines.

Public interest shown in this Museum ever since its foundation is openly reflected in the growing number of visitors. The Museum carries considerable amount of help to the education, in particular. Mostly students, as well as 442,136 visitors walked in to visit it, by the end of 1988 (20-25 thousand visitors every year).

The museum has attended to the campaign of the Ministry of Culture's new arrangements, which are exhibiting the National wealth abroad, and represented M.T.A. in the Mineralogy, Petrology Exhibitions (Expo 85), (Verona 86) and attracted a lot of attention.

The Museum has presented genuine contributions not only to the scientific institutions and universities, but also to any establishements interested in the earth sciences, to provide them with geological materials within their works.