New Cultural Museum Coming to Glendale

The final look of the museum by the time the construction is fully complete in 2024.

The final look of the museum by the time the construction is fully complete in 2024.

Anooshik Tahmasian, Section Editor

Glendale is home to roughly 40% of the Armenian diaspora bringing their unique and distinct culture. The city will get its first Armenian historic museum in Glendale to showcase this. It is planned and organized by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of  Western USA, established in Los Angeles on August 9, 2012. They started the project for the museum as a dedication to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. 

The first step taken toward the project was in 2014, when the museum concept and its site were established. The museum is being built on the North Brand Boulevard and Colorado street in Glendale, surrounded by restaurants, cafes, shopping stores and the popular staple city landmark, the Americana at Brand. It will be a 50,820 square foot two-level museum taking up a portion of the downtown Glendale central park. From 2015-2018, the museum was funded with over $10 million from state and federal grants and donations for assistance. Phase I of construction began in 2021 and phase II will begin in 2022.

The unique exterior design of the museum was created by Alajajian Marcoosi Architects. It is inspired by the mountainous rocky terrain of the Armenian Highlands. They symbolize the museum’s mission of bringing the diverse communities of Armenians from all around the world together to learn about their homeland. The color theme of the museum is violet, chosen by artist Arpine Shakhbandaryan, matching the color of the eternity symbol found in Armenian illustrated manuscripts. The symbol of the museum is the two mountains, Masis and Sis, also known as the biblical Ararat mountains. 

“It’s an opportunity for us to have a space that will be able to honor our history as Armenian Americans but most importantly build our future,” executive director Shant Sahakian said. Inspired to create an inclusive space that welcomes the diverse people and cultures of Glendale and non-local visitors, the museum will have four major divisions offered where everyone can find something they can engage in to gain knowledge and skill. 

The sole purpose of the museum is to present and inform the visitors of the history of the Armenian people and the impact of the Armenian Genocide. It will be showcased through a permanent exhibition, but also temporary exhibitions; it will shine light on various other cultures and backgrounds as well. The museum features a learning center for visitors to gather together and enroll in courses about different subjects pertaining to culture. A demonstration kitchen will be available for preparing Armenian food and intermixing with other cultural foods. Lastly, an auditorium for theater performances, presentations, and meetings will also be available. 

The museum is expected to be fully constructed and ready for use by summer of 2024. It will be an opportunity for current and future Armenian generations, to admire their deep roots but also be proud of perseverance through the darkest times in their history. The museum will serve as a learning place for the generations of Armenians about their homeland who might not have gotten the chance to visit Armenia.