By Gabriella Gage
WATERTOWN — After several years of collaboration, Dr. Susan Pattie recently joined the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA) as its new director. When she found out she would be relocating to the Boston area from London, working with ALMA seemed like the perfect choice for Pattie.
As the new director, Pattie hopes to build upon ALMA’s history of community outreach, saying, “What interested me most is outreach and making the heritage come alive, and also making it relevant to the contemporary world. ALMA does an amazing job of preserving cultural treasures and bringing people in to show them how to connect to their history and heritage.”
Pattie, a Washington DC native, received her undergraduate degree from Hope College and worked as an artist/craftsperson before earning her doctorate in anthropology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She served as the senior research fellow at University College London and later was a founding director of the Armenian Institute in London. Her academic research has focused on the Armenian Diaspora and preservation of Armenian culture.
She is also the author of Faith in History: Armenians Rebuilding Community. Pattie worked on several education-based projects during her time as director of the Armenian Institute. She said, “We did it because there wasn’t another organization there using mixed media arts to bring history to a contemporary context. We wanted to have an exchange of ideas — a forum for presenting ideas among each other.”
In 201l, Pattie and Armenian Institute colleagues published a children’s educational guidebook (available at ALMA) titled, Who Are
the Armenian People? “The project grew out of a conversation with a parent in London who wanted to talk to children about Armenian history, but wasn’t sure how to go about it,” Pattie noted.