Armenian Genocide Museum of America to Participate in USC’s INNOVATE ARMENIA Festival

By Mihran Toumajan

Western Region Bureau Chief

The Armenian
Genocide Museum of America (AGMA), headed by its Director, Dr. Rouben P.
Adalian, is excited to announce its participation in the forthcoming “INNOVATE
ARMENIA – Where Heritage Meets Innovation” festival, organized by the
University of Southern California’s (USC) Institute of Armenian Studies.

A signature
program of the Institute of Armenian Studies, admission to INNOVATE ARMENIA is
free and open to the public. The event will take place on USC’s main campus
from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday,
April 2, 2016
. Following in the successful footsteps of last year’s
inaugural festival, INNOVATE ARMENIA 2016 will focus on two core themes of the
Armenian global reality, namely Identity
and Digital Humanities.

In addition
to convening an indoor stage featuring TED-style talks by Digital Humanists,
INNOVATE ARMENIA will showcase an outdoor music stage with performances by a
wide array of artists, a photo exhibition – entitled SUM OF US – displaying the
works of photographers from Armenia, New York, and Los Angeles, as well as
innovative fusion food.

As a Digital
Humanist, Dr. Adalian will have an opportunity to present the AGMA’s
interactive and mobile-friendly online Armenian Genocide museum at the
festival. In addition, a wealth of audiovisual and print material covering the
online museum will be displayed and disseminated at the festival’s AGMA booth.

“I had the
pleasure of attending the first INNOVATE ARMENIA festival in 2015 and was so
very impressed by the USC Institute of Armenia Studies program,” stated Dr. Adalian.
“I am delighted that the online Armenian Genocide museum was selected as one of
the featured organizations for 2016. It is confirmation of the innovative
methods that we succeeded in developing to continue educating the public about
the Armenian Genocide and communicating to wider audiences about the importance
of prevention.”

The Armenian
Genocide Museum of America is a joint effort by the Armenian Genocide Museum
and Memorial Inc., the Armenian Assembly of America, and the Armenian National
Institute. Its online museum offers a place for reflection and learning filled
with hope, inspiration, and a commitment to eradicating the scourge of genocide
through education and a focus on prevention.

Armenian Genocide Museum of America Mobile-Friendly Website Launched

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The Armenian Genocide Museum of America (AGMA) is pleased to announce that as of today its state-of-the-art online museum (www.armeniangenocidemuseum.org) is fully accessible on mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones.

The interactive site, which was launched in April 2015, invites visitors to explore the story of the Armenian people and its fateful experience in 1915. Initially available only for laptop and desktop computer viewing, the online museum is now optimized for mobile devices.

Presenting the Armenian Genocide from multiple perspectives, the online museum highlights the role and extent of American involvement in denouncing the atrocities committed against the Armenian people during World War I and in delivering the humanitarian aid that rescued the remaining survivors from further mistreatment.

The story begins with an exploration of the rich culture of the Armenian people created over millennia to underscore the gravity of the loss of an entire civilization with the destruction of historic Armenia.

This theme has been expanded upon with the preliminary installation of the online museum’s galleries that feature additional information about the richness and creativity of Armenian civilization.  They cover such topics as Armenia’s ancient history, its spectacular architectural heritage, the variety of arts created across the centuries, as well as the tragic record of their destruction during and since the years of the Armenian Genocide.

The enormity of the human losses during the Armenian Genocide is set against this background to stress the relationship that once existed between the Armenian people and their now decimated homeland. It reveals the extent to which the places once associated with worship and celebration, with commerce and education, and the historical memory of significant events from the time of the Armenian monarchies, have been erased from the face of the earth.

By underlining with resonant content the historic identity of the Armenian people, their art and culture, and their perseverance in the face of adversity, the online museum also reinforces the universal message of our common humanity and collective responsibility, and explains why the story of the Armenians and other peoples who have suffered similar fates must be told.

The museum is also dedicated to educating the public about the continuing consequences of the Armenian Genocide. Viewers will learn how the international community’s failure to condemn the genocide and hold the perpetrators accountable made the Armenian Genocide a prototype for later crimes against humanity, including the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur, and most recently the Syriac, Armenian, Yezidi, and other minority communities subjected to genocide by the Islamic State noted in the resolution adopted this March 14 by the U.S. House of Representatives.

An educational video introducing the entire online museum explains the Armenian Genocide in the context of a century and more of mass atrocities around the world and examines the role of American leadership in responding to the problem of genocide.

The introductory video, as well as the online exhibits, feature the oral testimony of survivors supported with pictorial and other documentary evidence. The title of the video, “Coming to Terms: The Legacy of the Armenian Genocide,” echoes the expression that became the international theme of the centennial as governments and world leaders joined Armenians around the world on calling upon Turkey to face up to the evidence.

The testimony of other significant figures underscores the world’s reaction and America’s response to the Armenian Genocide with observations by Theodore Roosevelt, Major General James Harbord, Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Consul Jesse Jackson, subsequent remembrance day statements issued by sitting presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, supplemented by the striking invocations made by Pope Francis during the April 2015 commemorative observance at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The online museum also confronts the Turkish government’s denial policy by recalling the late Hrant Dink’s heroic role in exploring avenues for creating a common ground for understanding.  Dink was assassinated in 2007.

The launch of the online museum was timed with the centenary of the Armenian Genocide.  It followed the production of a series of digital exhibitsissued by AGMA, the Armenian National Institute (ANI), and the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) over the preceding months.  With these digital exhibits, hundreds of images from the Armenian Genocide and previously unexplored aspects of the Meds Yeghern were brought to light.  These and other resources are also accessible through the AGMA online museum.

In the spirit of cooperation to pay due respect to the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide, many individuals and organizations joined with AGMA in supporting the creation of the online museum and its many components. Among them are the Armenian Film Foundation, Zoryan Institute, Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, and Armenian Studies Program at the California State University in Fresno. They augmented the resources available from the United States National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Republic of Armenia National Archives, and Armenian General Benevolent Union’s Nubarian Library, among others.  AGMA also extends special thanks to film makers Carla Garapedian and Ted Bogosian, as well as historian and geographer Dr. Robert Hewsen.

AGMA also thanks again with particular appreciation the renowned photographer Hrair Hawk Khatcherian whose commitment to documenting the cultural and religious heritage of Armenians across their historic homeland and the diaspora is on display through the magnificent photographs he shared with AGMA and which form such a central part of the visual experience of visiting the online museum.

Joining Hrair Hawk Khatcherian in making the online museum an exceptional experience is the soulful musicianship of Gevorg Dabaghyan, enveloping viewers with haunting melodies from the mountains of Armenia. He continues the unique tradition of composing and playing music on the national instrument of Armenia, the duduk, made from the native apricot tree. AGMA is honored to feature Mr. Khatcherian’s and Mr. Dabaghyan’s exemplary and unequalled artistry.

The AGMA online museum is being produced by the museum planning and exhibit design firm of Gallagher & Associates which has been working with AGMA, ANI, and Assembly staff and board members to bring the concept of an Armenian Genocide museum to the public since the start of the project. Its video production service prepared “Coming to Terms: The Legacy of the Armenian Genocide” under the direction of Michael Buday.

The online museum was primarily made possible by the generous contribution of the Estate of Agnes Kazanjian. Donors to AGMA, Anoush Mathevosian, Hirair & Anna Hovnanian Foundation, Edele Hovnanian, Dr. Sarkis Kechejian, Dr. Nishan Kechejian, the Alice Ohanessian Irrevocable Trust, Julie Kulhanjian Strauch, Noubar Tcheurekjian, and the Trustees of the Armenian Assembly of America, are also gratefully acknowledged.

The project was overseen by the AGMA Online Museum Working Group consisting of Mark Malkasian, Richard H. Papalian, Van Z. Krikorian, and Rouben Adalian under the guidance of the AGMM Building and Operations Committee composed of Van Z. Krikorian, Chairman, Denise Darmanian, Edele Hovnanian, Richard H. Papalian, and Zaven Tachdjian.  The Board of Trustees of the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial, Inc. includes Hirair Hovnanian, Chairman; Anoush Mathevosian, Vice-Chair; and Van Z. Krikorian, Secretary.

The Armenian Genocide Museum of America is a joint effort by the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial Inc., the Armenian Assembly of America, and the Armenian National Institute. Its online museum offers a place for reflection and learning filled with hope, inspiration, and a commitment to eradicating the scourge of genocide through education and a focus on prevention.