Today on 17:00, the grand opening of a new and exclusive exhibition of the renewed Armenian Genocide Museum took place in the presence of the RA President Serzh Sargsyan.
AGMI Director Hayk Demoyan delivered a welcome speech and greeted the RA president, high-ranking officials, museum’s benefactors and other guests. In his speech AGMI Director expressed his deepest gratitude to the RA President Serzh Sargsyan, benefactors of the museum: Gabriel Chemberjian, founding President of “Pyunik” charitable foundation, Jevan Cheloyants, member of Council of Directors of “Spartak” club, Maxim Hakobyan, former General Director of “Zangezur Copper Molybden Combine” CJSC, Armen Shahazizyan, the founder of “Luding” company, Ralf Yirikian, General Manager of VivaCell MTS, Tigran Kalajian and Feliks Pirumyan, Advisor to the RA President, as well as to the entire staff of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.
Later on, Hayk Demoyan presented to the guests a new exhibition of the museum. During a tour, three donors have donated unique samples to the museum. Catherina Yamanda has donated a glass-bottle filled with rice - a daily ration for children in one of the Near East Relief Orphanages, and because of the lack of which the committee refused to accept thousands of children. There is a note on the bottle: “Help the Armenian orphans”. Jusy Bior has donated the diary and stamp of her grandmother -a Norwegian missionary Bodil Biorn, and Sossi Hapeshyan donated the purse of a Danish missionary Maria Jacobsen with a photo of her while taking care of the orphans.
After the end of the visit the RA President Serzh Sargsyan left a note in the memory notebook of honorary guests, which reads: “A new exhibition of the Armenian Genocide Museum, dedicated to the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, is really impressive, both in terms of coverage and presenting. Extensive and effective work has been done.
It seems that we, as Armenians, know everything about the Armenian Genocide, but such exhibitions reveal new layers and provide new information even to the most informed ones. As a visitor, coming out of the museum, I reaffirm what is in all our minds and lips: “I remember and demand”.
The RA President also donated to the museum a unique book - “Book of Lamentations by Monk Gregory of Narek from Van, Constantinople, 1850” - which was rescued during the deportation of 1915. A handwritten text on the coversheet of the book mentions that the book was purchased in one of the streets of Sebastia, during the deportation of the Armenian population in Sebastia. The buyer is Yervand Seraytarian, who left the following note: “Sebastia, 15 July 1915, I have bought this from the street for 12 ghrush. Almighty God, give us your blessings and have mercy upon us, grant us your good will, Amen. Yervand T. Seraytarian”. The book had belonged to the family of Karapet Chatrjian.
During the Armenian Genocide deported Armenians were often taking “Bible” or “Narek” with them as holy relics. This book proves that the Armenians who were doomed to death sometimes preferred to save the cultural heritage of their nation than to save their own lives.
The architect of the museum is Sashur Kalashyan. The general concept of the new exhibition was developed and implemented by the staff of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute (AGMI) under leadership of Hayk Demoyan, Doctor of Sciences, AGMI director and Secretary of the State Commission on the Events dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. The interior design concept of the exhibitions halls were developed and implemented by Lusine Matevosyan and Christine Abrahamyan. The design concept of the museum was planned and implemented without any additional fee.
Tsitsernakaberd memorial complex, the museum and the surrounding area have been completely renovated by “Tsitsernakaberd” benevolent foundation, the President of the board of trustees of which is Serzh Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia. “Tsitsernakaberd” benevolent foundation is financed from the donations by legal and physical entities.
The works have been carried out within the framework of the Armenian Genocide centennial events. The main coordinator of the events is Vigen Sargsyan, the Chief of Staff of the President’s Administration. During 2011-2014 the Armenian Genocide memorial complex has been renovated and Tsitsernakaberd alley and surrounding area have been considerably improved; the main building of the museum-institute has been renovated, the administration unit, comprising of library, conference hall, repositories and other facilities have been constructed.
Starting from 2011 development and implementation of design planning works of museum’s permanent exhibition were launched. The museum space is expanded by 2.5 times, offering 2400 sq/m. New technologies, design approaches and solutions widely used in the world museum practice are first applied in Armenia. The content solutions of the museum exhibitions, textual materials and explanatory notes are based on the recent scientific and methodological developments in the field of genocide studies. They were prepared in three languages (Armenian, English and Russian) and are the result of the joint and meticulous work of the AGMI staff. Some advisory support has been provided by the museum expert group, established by the State Commission of the Events dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
The permanent exhibition of the museum houses thousands of new materials acquired as a result of collection works carried out during the last 7-8 years. Part of the materials is presented in print, as well as through multimedia - projectors and touch-screens. Original and unique photos, books, documents and other items are also presented. The new exhibition space consists of twelve halls instead of former three and has 52 main titles.
The museum will also be replenished with audio-guides in Armenian, Russian, English, French, German, Turkish, Farsi and Arabic languages. They will enable to manage large groups of visitors to the museum. A bookshop will also operate in the museum. The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute has new facilities; unique conditions allow maintaining stock units. The museum has also been replenished with new furniture and technical means. In recent years AGMI collection of original materials were doubled, now reaching over 90.000 items. The AGMI collection on the Armenian Genocide is the biggest in the world.
The AGMI also stays engaged in scientific publications and continues carrying out different organizational works. This year has been full of such events: the opening of the temporary exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles by the assistance of “AGBU Asbeds”; signing of the Memorandum of cooperation with Shoah Foundation (Los Angeles); the opening of temporary exhibition entitled “The Armenian Genocide and the Russian Response” at the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow; the opening of temporary exhibition in Paris City Hall entitled “Armenia 1915: Paris Hosts the Collection of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute of Yerevan”; the 12th conference of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and the opening of a new exhibition entitled “The Armenian Sports in the Ottoman Empire”.
Temporary exhibitions in over 80 cities worldwide will be organized with the assistance of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute during 2015.