Museum of Marco Polo

Celebrating Museums And Imagination 2020

What We Believe

The Museum of Marco Polo is dedicated to bringing you articles and tweets on Time, Memory, History, Stories and, above all, on Museums.  It is the creation of a team who are moonlighting from their daytime jobs at Metaphor as museum makers.

At the Museum of Marco Polo we are fans of all kinds of museums, from the plain and simple to the poetic and improbable. We love their imagination, the stories they tell, the adventures of objects, the things that artists do with them, and the games museums play with Time and Memory.  We are also endlessly curious about how museums get their effects and communicate with audiences.  So all the interesting questions in life.

But the Museum of Marco Polo is something else as well.  Think of it as a homage to the long, strange, parallel history of Imaginary Museums.

The world is full of imaginary museums – whether museums created by artists and writers, or museums that have a powerful thread of imagination and inventiveness running through them.  The ruins in the basement of John Soane’s Museum in London tell the story of his own unhappy life. And going back before him there is Thomas Browne’s ‘Musaeum Clausum’, a 17th century museum of words on paper that is filled with imaginary objects.  Artists and writers love museums for their fantastical qualities, for their aura of poignancy and for their imaginative powers.  The Museum of Marco Polo is in this tradition and a place to explore the thousands of ways in which we live with our many pasts.

And – because what is a museum without a past? – we have also got busy, pinning down the strange and curious history of the Museum of Marco Polo. So if you want to picture it, then imagine it on the island of Buyukada, not far from Istanbul –  built around a collection allegedly brought home by the explorer Marco Polo, and then housed in a decaying Ottoman mansion on that shady and overgrown island.

Buyukada is where Trotsky went first in his exile before going on to Mexico. We like to think that Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentinean writer, also visited and that Marco Polo would have loved it.  You can believe it or not as you wish.

Enjoy the articles and tweets and tell us what you think.  And to read more about the Museum’s history, head to ‘The History of the Museum’ – and also to enjoy how our illustrator Isabel Greenberg imagined it.  Isabel is chief illustrator to the Museum of Marco Polo and author of ‘The Encyclopedia of Early Earth’.  For more details go to

You can also follow us on Twitter for entertaining tweets and news on the latest articles. And also on the comings and goings at the Museum of Marco Polo HQ. @MoMarcoPolo

To contact the Museum of Marco Polo, email