Street Address
65 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472
Mailing Address
65 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472
phone: 617-926-2562
e-mail: info@armenianmuseum.org
web: www.armenianmuseum.org/
Hours
Museum Hours
Sunday, Thursday - Saturday12 PM - 6 PM
Monday - Tuesdayclosed
Wednesday: Tours by appointment only (at least one [1] week in advance)
Administrative Offices
Monday - Friday9:30 AM - 5 PM
Admissions
Adults: $7
Seniors: $3
Members: free
Students (): $3
Children under 12: Free
Museum Type(s)
Art
Services
Gift Shop
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
Staff
Haig DerManuelian, President
phone: 617-926-2562
Gary Lind Sinanian, Curator
phone: 617-926-2562

Description

The museum is great place to learn about the Armenian heritage: ancient artifacts, rare manuscripts, rugs, textiles, paintings, and musical instruments. The Museum is the largest Armenian museum outside Armenia, and is the second largest ethnic museum in New England. ALMA houses the most extensive collection of Armenian artifacts in North America, with over 20,000 items, 18,000 books, 5,000 coins, 3,000 textiles, 930 rare books, 800 oral histories and 170 Armenian oriental rugs. The building includes Bedoukian Hall, the main exhibit gallery, as well as several smaller side galleries, the research library, a contemporary art gallery, studio space, offices, meeting rooms, and climate-controlled vaults for the storage of rare and delicate pieces. But ALMA is more than just a storehouse of ancient artifacts. It's a living museum where our children can come to discover their roots and where people of all ethnic backgrounds can see how the story of the Armenian people plays a vital part within the rich cultural symphony that is America.

ALMA also houses a contemporary art gallery on the 3rd floor, which showcases the works of artists of Armenian heritage.

History

Over the centuries, the people of Armenia have faced countless challenges. And while some have been more dramatic, none has been more critical than the challenge faced right now by the one million people of Armenian descent who live in the United States. This challenge involves preserving our past, not only for ourselves, but also for generations to come. For without a deep understanding of where we have come from, we can never truly understand why we are here or where we are going.

Out of this respect for the past, the Armenian Library and Museum of America was born. It all began in a church parish house in Belmont, Massachusetts. That's where, in 1971, a group of Armenian educators, professionals and business leaders began collecting Armenian books and artifacts. The collection grew steadily, and in 1985 ALMA opened its doors to the public for the first time. The ground floor of The First Armenian Church of Belmont, Massachusetts became ALMA's new home, and it existed there for several years, independently from the church.

Soon, the need for a larger, more permanent home became apparent. In September of 1988, ALMA purchased and remodeled a modern, four-story brick and glass building in the heart of Watertown, Massachusetts, the center of America's first, and still one of America's largest Armenian communities.

Artifacts Collections

An archer's bronze belt that was worn about 700 B.C. A silver coin that was minted before the time of Christ. A Bible that was printed in the 17th century. A "dog collar" that was worn by a victim of the Armenian Genocide in 1915.

These are just some of the fascinating objects that are part of ALMA's permanent collections--collections that include religious artifacts, inscribed rugs, folk costumes, metalwork, paintings, embroideries, currency, illuminated manuscripts, ceramics, home furnishings, photographs, musical instruments and more.

Some of the objects were part of extensive collections that were generously donated by private benefactors. But many items were cherished family heirlooms that were simply collecting dust in people's closets and attics. Over a dozen of ALMA's 100 volunteers are kept busy recording, photographing and cataloguing all the material that comes in every week. Other volunteers work in the conservation laboratories and in the Library.

While most of ALMA's holdings are kept in storage for inspection by researchers, at least 400 items are on exhibit at any given time. This means that exhibits change so that visitors can be assured of seeing something new when they return. ALMA has also recorded over 800 tapes of interviews with survivors of the Armenian Genocide, so that they can be heard by their grandchildren, by researchers, and by any visitor who wants to be inspired by their courage and strength.

Research Collections

For those interested in acquiring in-depth knowledge about virtually every aspect of Armenian life, ALMA's Mesrop Boyajian Library is an invaluable resource. The Library features an extensive collection of books in Armenian, English and other languages. It also offers periodicals, poster, maps, calendars, sheet music, documents, early sound recordings and more, catalogued and in open stacks for easy use by students, researchers and the general public.

The Library's archives (22,000 items) focus on institutional records and personal papers of prominent individuals, as well as special collections including photographs, 1,400 oral history tapes, 1,800 sound recordings, music scores, memorabilia, pamphlets and manuscripts.

Educational Programs

Armenian Library and Museum of America has an active calendar of exhibits both in the Museum itself and in the contemporary art gallery located on the 3rd floor of the ALMA building.

In support of the visual arts, ALMA hosts frequent exhibits of contemporary artists either of Armenian decent or Armenian subject matter. The exhibits feature the works of artists from all over the world.

    Governance

    Board of Trustees

    Library

    The Mesrob G. Boyajian Library

    For those interested in acquiring in-depth knowledge about virtually every aspect of Armenian life, the Armenian Museum’s Mesrob G. Boyajian Library is an invaluable resource. The Library’s over 30,000 titles include an extensive collection of books in Armenian, English and other languages. It also includes periodicals, posters, maps, calendars, sheet music, documents, oral histories, early sound recordings and more, cataloged for use by students, researchers and the general public.

    Hours & Location: The Mesrob G. Boyajian Library is located on the 4th floor of the Armenian Museum’s Mugar building. The library is open on Fridays 1 pm-5 pm. Please inquire in advance at (617) 926-2562 x 5 to schedule research/study sessions during other hours.

    Access: Students, Scholars

    Appointment required: Yes

    Services

    Gift Shop

    Books, CDs & DVDs, Classes, Clothing & Accessories, Home Decor, Membership, Prints & Posters.

    Group Tours (by appointment only)

    A minimum of 8 people are required for a private group tour. Tours are offered at no additional charge during standard museum hours, subject to availability of the guide. Tours desired during non-standard museum hours will be accepted on a case by case basis subject to calendar and guide availability. In these cases the standard admission charge will apply plus an additional charge per person depending on the size of group.

    Make it your Gallery - Event Rental

    ALMA’s Contemporary Art Gallery is often used for conferences, lectures, professional meetings, music recitals, film series, book and curatorial talks, and cultural events. The Gallery provides a wonderful combination of contemporary art and ethnic ambiance. A guided tour of the Museum can be arranged as part of the occasion. ALMA’s decision to allow the Contemporary Art Gallery to be used as a function hall for private events stems from ALMA’s willingness to appeal to a wider audience while, at the same time, enabling individuals and organizations a unique way to support ALMA. Events will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    Volunteer

    Volunteers form a vital part of the work that goes on at Armenian Museum of America. Over the past 40 years, the Armenian Museum of America has made a fine reputation for itself as a premier destination for student groups, families and tourists to discover the rich history and culture of the Armenian people.

    The Armenian Museum of America’s increasing popularity has sparked a recent rise in visitors and groups seeking guided tours. Qualified volunteers will have an interest in Armenian history and culture. They will attend a training session and should be able to commit to a minimum of four hours per week. Interested persons may contact the museum office by emailing info@armenianmuseum.org or calling (617) 926-2562 ext. 4.

    Gift Shop

    Online Gift Shop

    Special Event Rental

    Group Tours