In early November, the Glendale City Council approved the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee’s idea to build an Armenian museum and cultural center as a tribute to the Armenian Americans in Glendale.
Members of various Armenian churches and organizations also attended the council meeting to present and support the project. The different organizations offered help, both physically and financially, in support of the project.
Due to the large Armenian population in Glendale, the council thought it would be appropriate to give them an opportunity to showcase their accomplishments. The purpose is to provide facts about Armenian history, which includes the 1915 Genocide, and have that information available to non-Armenians.
Armenian Genocide Commissioner Berj Karapetian said that the goal of the project is to dedicate the museum to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
This idea was inspired by a similar proposal the city of Pasadena made in 2013 to build a monument in the city memorializing the victims of the Armenian Genocide, which received unanimous approval from Pasadena City Council members.
While there are monuments built in honor of the genocide all around the world, the museum will be the first of its kind in the Western region of the United States. Chair of the centennial committee, Garo Ghazarian, said they have been working on getting the project in motion for over two years, but have spent the last eight months working on getting it approved.
They were given a year to develop their step-by-step program, agreeing to present their plans to City Hall every 60 days.
They also discussed the permit requirements and mandatory building plans, which will include a museum facility consisting of archival artifacts, a photo gallery display area and theater.
Glendale plans to position the 60,000 square foot project across the street from Glendale Community College, neighboring the Civic Auditorium and St. Gregory Armenian Catholic Church, one of the few Armenian Churches in Glendale.
Mayor Zareh Sinanyan is supportive of the overall purpose of the museum, especially because of its proximity to the college. Academic counselor Sarkis Ghazarian said that approximately 37 percent of students that attend GCC are Armenian.
Co-chair of the committee, Talin Yacoubian, said that the museum is not only important for the Armenian population, but for everyone living in the city and its surrounding areas because “we have to educate our neighbors about who we are and where we came from.”