ALMA Names Viktoria Kirakosyan as New Program Director

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By Siranush Khachatryan
Special to the Mirror-Spectator

Viktoria Kirakosyan

WATERTOWN, Mass. — This town, which is second only to Glendale, Calif. when it comes to its population of Armenian descent, is also home to the only museum dedicated to all things Armenian in the US, the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA).

The newest member of the staff there is Viktoria Kirakosyan, who recently was named exhibit and program director.

Kirakosyan was born in Yerevan, but she is not unfamiliar with Massachusetts; she studied at Simmons College in Boston, from which she graduated with joint degrees in economic and computer science.

“The funny thing is that the only reason I studied and graduated with those degrees was because I knew I was going to go back to Armenia where there are the most jobs available in those fields. I wasn’t very interested in either of them though. I’ve always considered myself more of a creative

type of person, and always imagined that the ideal fields for me to work in were marketing and

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graphic design,” said Kirakosyan.

Prior to coming to the US, she worked in marketing, including at investment funds as well as a wine distribution company in Armenia and an international food and wine publication. She moved to the US two years ago with her husband, Armen Begoyan.

“I was living in Watertown and I would always pass by the museum but never had a chance to go inside … . One of the board members who has known me for many years knew that I was looking for a job. At the time there was an opening at ALMA so she referred my resume and I went for an interview. The next day I received the job offer. I never thought I would work in a museum, but every day I like it

more and more.”

The job is not just dealing with logistics, however. “Although my position states exhibit and program coordinator, I am also involved in the creative aspects of working in a museum. For example, I get to work with various renowned artists in organizing events for gallery exhibits for their collections. I get to meet a lot of new people every day, which is probably my favorite part of the job.”

Working at ALMA has made Kirakosyan feel closer to home. “I wish I could share my life between both places, but I know many years from now I will permanently move back to Armenia. Whenever I go back, a part of me will stay here with all the diversity and various activities that are offered, but when I’m here, I keep on getting homesick. I can’t live too far for too long away from my parents and country.”

ALMA is a non-profit, while not flush with cash, is operating smoothly thanks to its loyal army of volunteers, Kirakosyan said.

ALMA currently has about 10 exhibits on display and Kirakosyan says her favorite is a traveling

exhibit titled, “The Ongoing Cultural Genocide,” which will soon embark on a national tour. “What I like a lot about the exhibit is that instead of concentrating solely on the facts and history of the Armenian Genocide, its main focus is on the Turks’ denial of the Genocide. It’s an impressive combination of images and texts that is quite engaging. It has premiered at the University of Rhode Island and my goal is to have it displayed in mostly non-Armenian sites.”