GLENDALE—The Board of Trustees of the Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center of California have announced the historic groundbreaking of the highly anticipated landmark center in Summer 2021 – a major milestone for the community that has been years in the making.
The Glendale City Council officially kicked off the groundbreaking year with the approval of the refined museum building design and the waiving of city permit and plan check fees valued at $671,000.
The Armenian American Museum will rise to a two-level 50,820 square foot museum complex built on a one-level semi-subterranean parking garage. The first level will feature the grand lobby, auditorium, learning center, demonstration kitchen, gift shop, and administrative offices. The second level will be dedicated to the permanent and temporary exhibition galleries as well as the collections archives.
The cultural and educational center’s programming plans include producing and hosting powerful, immersive, and thought-provoking permanent and temporary exhibitions, leading meaningful dialogues and discussions through engaging public programs, providing educational programs for adults, youth, kids, and families, preserving Armenian heritage through the museum’s collections and archives, and serving as an iconic venue for memorable experiences, gatherings, and celebrations.
“The highly anticipated groundbreaking of the Armenian American Museum represents a historic accomplishment for our community, and we believe it will be a symbol of hope and spirited resiliency for America, Armenia, and Artsakh during these challenging and unprecedented times,” stated Executive Chairman Berdj Karapetian. “The Board of Trustees and museum leadership wishes to express its sincere gratitude for the steadfast commitment and generous support of our donors, stakeholders, committees, volunteers, and government partners for this collective achievement.”
The Armenian American Museum was born in 2014 when the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee Western USA officially adopted the museum as its landmark project to honor the memory of the 1.5 million martyrs who perished in the Armenian Genocide and to help build and define the next centennial of the community as a message of strength, perseverance, and hope for future generations.
In 2015, the museum’s Board of Trustees was established, entrusting the governance of the project to ten united Armenian American cultural, philanthropic, and religious non-profit organizations. The Board of Trustees includes the Armenian Catholic Eparchy, Armenian Cultural Foundation, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Armenian General Benevolent Union Western District, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Relief Society Western USA, Nor Or Charitable Foundation, Nor Serount Cultural Association, Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, and Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
In 2018, the Glendale City Council approved the museum’s $1-per-year Ground Lease Agreement, officially marking Central Park as the future site of cultural and educational center. The initial term of the Ground Lease Agreement will be 55 years with options to extend the lease term for four 10-year periods totaling 95 years. The museum will neighbor the Downtown Central Library, Museum of Neon Art (MONA), and The Americana at Brand.
In 2019, the Glendale City Council approved an $18.5 million makeover and expansion of Central Park. The proposal includes the creation of a new central lawn connecting the museum and library, an outdoor amphitheater for live performances, a children’s park with playgrounds and splash pads, and outdoor recreational amenities for the community. The city and museum plan to collaborate on the programming of outdoor events in the downtown park.
The Armenian American Museum has assembled a team of experienced museum and industry professionals to provide guidance and expertise in construction, design, programming, and development for the landmark center. The museum’s design team led by Alajajian Marcoosi Architects will be formally submitting the project’s construction documents to the City of Glendale to initiate the plan check process.
The museum’s Groundbreaking Campaign has raised more than $14 million in contributions, pledges, and grants. The State of California has invested an unprecedented $8 million in support of the center through the efforts of Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Anthony J. Portantino, and Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian. Los Angeles County has contributed $1 million to the center through a generous grant by Supervisor Kathryn Barger. The Board of Trustees plan to announce naming opportunities for the legacy project later this year.
The museum will be announcing its plans for the Groundbreaking Ceremony in Spring 2021.
The mission of the Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center of California is to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Armenian American experience. The vision is a cultural campus that enriches the community, educates the public on the Armenian American story, and empowers individuals to embrace cultural diversity and speak out against prejudice.