A Legacy of Armenian Treasures on Manoogian Museum Launched in Armenia

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By Manana Hovakimyan

YEREVAN and DETROIT (Azg) — A Legacy of Armenian Treasures a catalog of the Alex & Marie Manoogian Museum was recently published in Detroit. The book contains a lavish presentation of photographs featuring the museum items with appropriate identification and scholarly text. On September 19, a book launch took place at the Manuscript Hall of the State Art Gallery with many representatives of cultural life in attendance.

Throughout the years benefactor Alex Manoogian and Archbishop Paren Avedikian agumented this collection by purchasing the artifacts from auctions and individuals. Today the collection is a source of pride for every Armenian.

The executive editor of the book, Edmond Azadian, said, “This book is the fruit of almost 10 years of work and we have prepared it with the cooperation of several specialists. It is composed of 336 pages with 160 photographs. Only selected items from the collection have been featured in the book including illuminated manuscripts, rugs, religious objects, early printed books, ceramics, paintings, textiles and coins. The book is addressed to the general public and is written in English to make it accessible to the younger generation and non-Armenians. Only my introduction is both in Armenian and English. Our editorial staff made certain that each entry stands up to scholarly scrutiny.”

The book can also be ordered from Amazon.com and various bookstores.

The Minister of Culture Hasmik Pogosyan, under whose auspices the event took place, congratulated the representatives of the museum.

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At the conclusion of the program, the director of the Manoogian Museum, Lucy Ardash, said, “what we attempted to accomplish in the Manoogian Museum and in our new book is to re-create a small part of Armenia for the diaspora. In my view, Armenia is an architectural treasure and the entire country is like a museum. By publishing this catalog, we hope to inform Armenians and non-Armenians about our cultural heritage. The publication is the culmination of research by nine preeminent scholars and editors. The Manoogian Museum opened in 1992 and its collection now totals 1,500 objects, most of which are over 100 years old. The vision and development of the museum was the joint effort of the late benefactor Alex Manoogian and Archbishop Paren Avedikian who began collecting artifacts long before the museum was built.”

On this special occasion, publishing consultant Alice Nigoghosian, long time deputy director of Wayne State University Press, under whose direction many scholarly books have been published, said, “The publication of this book was a team effort overcoming many challenges in producing this complex project.”

The president of the Armenian Academy of Science, Dr. Radik Martirosyan, noted, “ I have been to the Manoogian Museum more than once. The collection is available to a limited number of visitors but thanks to this book, a large segment of the public will be exposed to the collection regardless of where they live. The book has had a tremendous cultural impact on the public.”

Edward Milieonyan, president of the Writers Union, in his turn, emphasized the importance of the publication. “Such a valuable treasure and a great cultural achievement because these books represent the Armenian culture worldwide. When looking at the cover of the book and its content, I was overwhelmed,” he said.

Art historian Levon Chookaszian was the keynote speaker. He said, “This volume brings together an entire heritage which was dispersed around the world because of the Genocide and huge endeavors were necessary to bring the collection together. Alex Manoogian’s work is unique because most of the artifacts created by Armenians has fallen into hands of individuals, while Alex Manoogian collected them for a public museum.”

Pogosyan presented honorary awards to Nigoghosian and Ardash. The minister also presented the Grigor Naregatzi Medal to renowned intellectual and executive editor of the book Edmond Azadian for his work to preserve and disseminate Armenian heritage in the diaspora.

Seyranuhi Geghamyan, who is the head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Ministry of Culture, was the emcee of the program and she intermittently introduced young musicians who enhanced the program. The event concluded with a champagne reception.

 

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