Weekends in Watertown: A Visit to the Armenian Museum of America

What does a nation 3-million strong, representing one of the world’s earliest Christian civilizations, have to do with a former bank building on the edge of Watertown’s East End? The answer is no surprise when you consider that nation is Armenia, whose members comprise over one quarter of Watertown’s population. The two worlds connect powerfully at the Armenian Museum of America, founded in 1985, home to the largest and most diverse trove of Armenian artifacts outside the country itself.

From rare books to textiles, ceramics, and metalware, the museum was

created “to locate, collect, preserve, and present the culture, history, art, and contributions of the Armenian people” during the past 3,000 years. Its galleries house over 20,000 artifacts, including 5,000 ancient and medieval Armenian coins, over 3,000 textiles and 180 Armenian inscribed rugs, and an extensive collection of Urartian and religious artifacts, ceramics, medieval illuminations and various other objects. Its library houses over 27,000 titles, an oral history collection, archival materials and various other publications.

The museum also hosts musical performances, lectures, readings and discussion groups meant to highlight not only what Armenian history has meant in the past but how it enriches today’s culture, both in Watertown and around the world. It’s where Armenian-Americans can connect with their roots, and where all of us can learn how the story of the Armenian people helped shape Watertown’s culture, past and present.

The Armenian Museum complements its strong permanent collection with up to 14 changing exhibits annually to give its visitors ample opportunity to view its extensive range of materials.

Exhibiting until January 17th, 2016 is Full Circle: The Art of Barry M. Martasian.

Inside tip: The entry fee is budget-friendly and the eclectic gift shop is definitely worth a spin and full of great gift ideas for the holidays! For details on hours and admission go here.