Armenian Museum of America

Armenian Museum of America art, culture, and eternity The Armenian Museum of America, located in Watertown, Mass. is an institution that has the largest collection of Armenian artifacts in North America.
The Armenian Museum of America was created to locate, collect, preserve, and present the culture, history, art, and contributions of the Armenian people during the past 3,000 years. Our library holds a vast collection of titles including rare books, historical and literary publications. The Museum has amassed an expansive treasure trove of inscribed Armenian rugs and textiles, ceramics, metalware, Urartian objects, medieval illuminations, ancient and medieval Armenian coins, and various other creations by the Armenian people.

While quarantine has had many drawbacks, one positive outcome has been the number of animals adopted or fostered while f...

While quarantine has had many drawbacks, one positive outcome has been the number of animals adopted or fostered while families remain at home. One of the first things to do when you get a new pet is to name them, and we know many of the Museum's followers have chosen beautiful Armenian names for your furry friends.

Let's hear about them! Share a picture of your Armenian-named pet below and tell us how they got their name!

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Congratulations to our raffle winner, Ashley! Here's to happy cooking and great memories around your table!#Armeniancook...

Congratulations to our raffle winner, Ashley! Here's to happy cooking and great memories around your table!
#Armeniancooking #Vegancooking

Family Stories: Badrig Arakelian, told by his daughter, Mary Ann Arakelian KazanjianI, Mary Ann Kazanjian, am the daught...

Family Stories: Badrig Arakelian, told by his daughter, Mary Ann Arakelian Kazanjian

I, Mary Ann Kazanjian, am the daughter and only child of Badrig Arakelian, survivor of the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians in Turkey. Badrig, the eldest son of Arakel and Shnorig (Berberian) Arakelian, was born in Yozgat, Turkey in 1909. Yozgat, a rich and vast forest area, was located in central Turkey near the present day capital of Ankara. It was first established by the Armenian Capanoglu family of the “Tekke" tribe in the early 1700s who came from Yerevan in the East to escape Turkish and Kurdish atrocities. The Capanoglu family surname derived from the meaning “Shepherd’s Son” and the land was named Yozgat, heavily inhabited by Armenians and Greeks. The Greek name for Yozgat was Bozouki.

Architect Simon (Sinan) from Yerevan was commissioned to build the grand palace for the Capanoglus and a mosque in 1779, twin to the magjificent Mosque Suleymaniye in Istanbul. Simon’s son, Haci Arslan (meaning lion), was the first usage of the Arslanian name.

Simon’s grandson was Ohan Chorbaji Arslanian (1784-1874), and together with Simon they were the major benefactors and developers of Yozgat in the 1800s, building schools, bridges, bazaars and the Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church.

Badrig was a seventh generation direct descendant of the wealthy Yozgat Arslanian family. He was the great, great grandson of Hovhannes or Ohan Chorbaji Arslanian on his maternal side. His legacy has now continued three additional generations with his daughter, Mary Ann, son-in-law Edward Kazanjian, his two granddaughters Krista and Karen Kazanjian Lilla and husband Paul, and his two great grandchildren Marianna and Damian Lilla.

Badrig’s family lived on a street named Rue Tekke in Yozgat. He had a younger sister, Armenouhi, and an even younger brother, Haroutiun. His father and paternal grandfather had a comfortable living in the importing and exporting business in partnership with a Greek family.

In 1912, Badrig’s family moved North to Samson on the Black Sea and expanded their wholesale business with this Greek family in a huge warehouse on the waterfront. They dealt again in dry goods such as walnuts, soaps and dry fruit. Badrig, being the oldest, spent a lot of time with his father Arakel at this warehouse. Samson was a warmer semi-tropical climate and the Armenians, Greeks, and Turkish people lived cooperatively among each other. His Arakelian grandparents parents, Boghos and Turvanda, joined his family in Samson along with his father Arakel’s youngest sister, Zarouhi. Shortly thereafter both grandparents passed away before the Armenian Genocide began in 1915. The family lived in a comfortable hillside two story home with a view of the sea next to an Armenian church and graveyard. There was a new military building across the street built in 1911 where his father reported, dressed in a Turkish uniform, paid required fees and served in the National Guard.

There were mansions of wealthier Armenians on the hillside. Badrig befriended an Armenian boy whom he referred to as very rich because he had a tricycle and would treat Badrig to Hershey chocolate bars. This family had a tobacco factory manufacturing cigarettes. Badrig’s family took refuge in this friend’s huge cellar and watched the allied Russian and American ships during WW1 bombardments, while the elders opened their Bibles and prayed.

In 1918, Badrig’s father, Arakel, was taken away from his home by soldiers. The family was told that he was now serving in the military but he never returned.

For the rest of this story and others as well as additional images, please visit

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Family Stories: Haigouhi Khederian, told by her Granddaughter, Joyce Khederian ChiulliThis is the Genocide survival stor...

Family Stories: Haigouhi Khederian, told by her Granddaughter, Joyce Khederian Chiulli

This is the Genocide survival story of my father‘s mother, my Grandmother, Haigouhi Arakelian Arslanian Khederian, born in 1895 to Boghos & Tourvanda (Kalfayan) Arakelian. Haigouhi grew up in Yozgat, Turkey with her three brothers, Arakel, Levon, & Garabed, along with her sister Zarouhi.

At the age of 17, Haigouhi married Asadour Arslanian, also of Yozgat, through an arranged marriage. The year was 1912. Asadour was a personable businessman working for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He was the first salesman to sell life insurance to the residents of Turkey. Asadour had 2 brothers, one a lawyer and the other a businessman dealing with imports and exports.

Haigouhi and her new husband Asadour soon had a child in January of 1913, Harry Asadour Arslanian.

This 1914 family photo above shows my Grandmother Haigouhi on the far left with her husband Asadour next to her. Asadour's two brothers and sister are standing next to him. Seated are Asadour's parents, with baby Harry in the lap of Asadour's mother. The girl in front is Asadour's little sister Vergin (Virginia).

In 1915, all the men in this Arslanian family photo were dragged out of their family home in Yozgat and murdered by Turkish soldiers. Asadour was shot and killed along with his two brothers and father in front of their family home.

It was now 1915, and the Armenian Genocide had begun. The Turkish Government wanted to eliminate Armenian intellectuals first, and the Arslanian men fit into that category.

The Turkish soldiers then came back into the Arslanian home, yelling for any other males in the house. Haigouhi’s baby Harry was still in the house, and the women knew if the soldiers found him, they’d kill him for being an Armenian male. The frightened women desperately hid baby Harry under a pile of blankets, with Asadour’s little sister Virginia sitting on top of him. They prayed little Harry would not cry.

For the rest of this story and others as well as more images, please visit

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FAMILY STORIES: Mary (Ornadzian) Derderian, autobiography, submitted by her daughter, Hosanna Derderian.This story of my...

FAMILY STORIES: Mary (Ornadzian) Derderian, autobiography, submitted by her daughter, Hosanna Derderian.
This story of my life begins since the time of World War I in 1915. I was born in the village of Govdoon, Armenia in the year 1910. My mother's name was Antarum, my father's name was Gabriel, two sisters Ovsanna and Elizabeth and a brother Nishan, all of whom I did not know. I remember only a few things from my childhood. I remember the black goats that I would go to visit once in awhile and that there were beehives where I unfortunately got bitten.The village in which I resided was massacred in 1915. I was then five years old. I happened to be with a crowd of women and children. We walked until we came to a body of water. This area, my mother later told me was where she had to place her baby daughter for lack of food as the baby was dying.

I was left behind near this area of water. I laid down for a rest as I was tired and hungry. When I got back on my feet and looked around for the crowd they had disappeared, Sometime later a man with his donkey happened to come by. He picked me up and put me on his donkey. This man who was a Kurd brought me to his house. He was a farmer with bags of garlic to be taken to the market. A few days later he gave me to a friend. I temporarily lost my eyesight. I don't remember very much about this occurrence except that I was blindfolded for quite awhile. Every afternoon I took food to the workers on a donkey. I stayed and took care of their cattle. Toward dusk we came home with plenty of vegetables. I was barefooted and as I walked on roots of wheat I had to be careful not to get splinters on the soles of my feet. I happened to pull carrots from the ground and they were as sweet as sugar. I would ground wheat in stone. I would grind it and make bulghur out of it. I have milked cows and brought food from the fields for the cows.

For the rest of the story and others, please visit:

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#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 – in addition to the regul...

#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 – in addition to the regularly scheduled Dec 1, 2020 #GivingTuesday – as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. For more informationplease visit To donate to the Museum please visit Though we are apart we will get through this together!

FAMILY STORIES: Ohannes Kavoukian, as told by his granddaughter Victoria ParianThe Turkish mayor of the city of Adana ha...

FAMILY STORIES: Ohannes Kavoukian, as told by his granddaughter Victoria Parian
The Turkish mayor of the city of Adana had advised my grandfather, “… you should gather your family and get out of the city.” It was 1915 and though Armenians represented a quarter of the population of the city of Adana, they were expecting the worst.

Grandfather, Ohannes Kavoukian came up with a plan to use his artistic skills. From a small photo, he sketched a black and white portrait of Jemal Pasha, the commanding officer of the Turkish Army. He wanted to present the drawing to Jemal hoping that he and his family would not be deported to Der-Zor. He wondered how the Pasha will react when he sees his drawing. His friends in the military admired it and somehow the news went to Jemal Pasha, who immediately summoned the artist with the portrait. The guard seeing him come with the drawing in hand told him, “Get in! The Pasha is expecting you.” He slowly moved forward and found himself in front of the desk of Jemal Pasha.

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Family Stories: Tamom Salbashian, as told by Peter and Chuck HajinianMy name is Peter Hajinian. This ring was given to m...

Family Stories: Tamom Salbashian, as told by Peter and Chuck Hajinian

My name is Peter Hajinian. This ring was given to my great-grandmother Tamom Salbashian when she married Haji- Sarkis Hajinian in 1909 and moved into his family’s house in the village of Tomarza. A village of 10,000 or so Armenians, with a few Greeks and Turks, Tomarza sat by the base of Mount Erciyes near Kayseri in the Ottoman Empire. A few years later, Sarkis left to find his fortune in the New World. Passing through Jerusalem in 1913, he got a tattoo to mark the event and became Haji-Sarkis Hajinian. From there he traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then on to South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Tamom lived with her mother-in-law Catherine, sister-in-law, nephew Hratch and niece Melonie. Having no children of her own, Hratch and Melonie would have kept her busy.

August 25, 1915, everything changed. This was the date for the general deportation of Tomarza. As the men had already been called up to labor battalions, now the rest of the Armenian villagers were required to pack up what they could and march south toward the Syrian deserts. Tamom hid this gold ring in her clothing, and helped carry food for her elderly mother-in-law and young niece and nephew. The deportation took them down dirt roads over small mountain ranges. Villagers from Jujune, Dashan, and others joined them along the way. Armenians had lived in this province for centuries, since Levon the Great created the kingdom during the time of the Crusades.

Food soon ran low, and hundreds died each day. Of the 10,000 or so Armenians from Tomarza, an estimated 1500 survived. Tamom’s mother-in-law Catherine was the first to die among the Hajinian caravan. She had been knitting as they walked, and when Tamom asked what it was Catherine replied, “My burial clothes.” She laid her hands on her daughter in law Tamom and said "Go to America and find your husband, my son Haji Sarkis, I give you the Hajinian Family Blessings." Closing her eyes. Glory Beckoned.

For the rest of the story and othersplease visit
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FAMILY STORIES: Helen Sharigian Nahabedian as told in her own wordsMy name is Helen, and I am the daughter of survivors ...

FAMILY STORIES: Helen Sharigian Nahabedian as told in her own words

My name is Helen, and I am the daughter of survivors of the Armenian Genocide. My mother Hripsome Alexanian was born in 1895 in the town of Marash, Turkey, and my father Sahag Sharigian was born in 1897 in the town next door, Sepastasia, a town now known as Sivas.

My mother Hripsime and my father Sahag had an arranged marriage by their families. My mother was 2 years older than my father. They were married around 1913, at the ages of 18 & 16, before the genocide began.

I remember my mother telling me that Sahag came by her house one day on a horse and said, "So... I am told we will be married!” My parents were married shortly after that in Sivas, Turkey. Life was good, and my parents had two twin boys Charles (Garabed) and Simon.

In 1915, Turkish soldiers came into the village of Sepastia and suddenly took away my father, who was 18 years old. The Turks then chased my mother carrying her 2 year old boys to the nearby river. The Turks grabbed little Charlie & Simon away from my mother’s arms, and bayoneted them with swords right before my mother's unbelieving eyes. They then threw little Charlie & Simon's bodies in the river to drown.

The river was red with the blood from all the dead bodies in the water. This murder of my mother’s two babies was something my mother grieved until the day she died. She never got over that image. She would always say, "The Turks took my babies" and whimper & weep for them throughout her life. My mother screamed in anguish at the Turkish soldiers, "Why did you do this?" and "What have you done with my husband?" The Turkish soldiers told my mother, "There is a war going on, and your husband is going to fight in the war". Hripsime never got to say good-bye to Sahag.., And they never were able to grieve together over the loss of their twin boys. My mother never heard from my father... not knowing if he was dead or alive.

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FAITH AND SURVIVALArm Reliquary, 18th-19th centuryPortable reliquaries were made from luxurious materials and served as ...


Arm Reliquary, 18th-19th century

Portable reliquaries were made from luxurious materials and served as containers for preserving and venerating the physical remains of holy persons. Arm reliquaries allowed clerics to animate a saint's body during liturgical celebrations and processions. The outside of the forearm has three separate panels: a dove of the Holy Spirit with 2 angels, the sun and the moon (top), a cathedral with domed crosses (middle) and a haloed figure kneeling in a garden between two figures (Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane). There are mountings for gemstones, with only one gemstone remaining.

In 1916, Aghavny Demirjian's mother escorted a friend to a Russian border crossing. At the border station, Russian soldiers were confiscating valuables from the refugees. Two Armenian women standing next to the mother turned and passed a hidden package to her, begging her to save it from the Russian soldiers. When she returned home, she found this arm reliquary inside the package and believed the fateful border event to be a sign from God personally charging her to protect the object for future generations. The mother later immigrated to the United States, bringing the Arm Reliquary with her. She created a small shrine in her bedroom in Rhode Island. Each day she would pray at the secret shrine. Upon her death, her daughter Aghavny continued maintaining the shrine. When Aghavny died, she bequeathed this holy object to the Armenian Museum of America.

Gift of the Estate of Aghavni Demirjian

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Family Stories: Heranoush And Hagop ShamlianAs told by their granddaughter, Ellen Sarkisian ChesnutMy mother, Evelyn Sha...

Family Stories: Heranoush And Hagop Shamlian
As told by their granddaughter, Ellen Sarkisian Chesnut

My mother, Evelyn Shamlian’s family survived the worst years of the Genocide 1915-1916 as my grandfather, Hagop’s tannery produced the best leather in city of Marash. Not only did Hagop and his numerous employees work non-stop during the war years, 1915-1918 but he helped the Armenians of the city in extraordinary and risky ways. He was highly respected also by the Turks.

The tide turned for Hagop in 1920. He was now a wanted man with 50 gold pounds for his head. He fled, along with 3,000 other Armenians in the dead of night and into a terrible blizzard. That left my grandmother, Heranoush to fend for herself and their children. Thank goodness there was financial assistance for destitute Armenian families.

When money ran out, Heranoush announced to her children: “If I’m going to die, I’d like to die under my roof. C’mon children we’re going home.”

Little did she know that a Turkish army officer had taken over the family home. In the dead of night, Heranoush and children walked through the unlocked door, went upstairs where they snuggled together under the quilt and slept.

In the morning, the Turkish army officer confronted Heranoush yelling at the top of his lungs. She calmly replied and told him the local imam gave her permission to return. My Aunt Rebecca recalled that the officer told her that he heard them upstairs and took out his sword, stealthily climbed the stairs to slaughter them. But, he continued, when he saw them asleep some force held onto his arm and he couldn’t do it.

Heranoush and five of her seven children were able to stay on in the house with the officer and his family for six months. Hagop, who had miraculously survived and residing in Aleppo, paid for their passage out of Marash. Hagop was able to hire two Syrian Arab drivers along with a carriage and a covered wagon with money sent from America by his eldest son, Puzant. Once in a while when the drivers stopped at way stations, they did not like how Turkish and Kurdish men were eyeing the girls so they told Heranoush that the teenaged girls would have to be hidden. No more stopping at way stations. So Helen, step daughter of Heranoush and two girl cousins were at certain points in the journey hidden under quilts and the other children would sit on them to make it look as if the quilts were covering the cushions. They all made it to Aleppo, Syria alive and for the next ten years lived a life of privation but they were all together.

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65 Main St
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