Funeral Arrangements for ALMA Chairman Haig Der Manuelian


Full Obituary from the Der Manuelian Family:

"Manuelian, Haig Der of Belmont and Watertown

Passed away December 1, 2016. Beloved husband of Adele Flora (Koundakjian) Manuelian. Devoted father of Mark Manuelian and his wife Deborah, Matthew Manuelian and his wife Anahit Atayan, Michael Manuelian and his husband Gregory Welch, and Martin Manuelian. Also survived by 6 grandchildren: Ara, Ami, Ana, Asa, Haik and Romen; and 3 foster grandchildren: Kolbey, Kinley and Konley. Brother of John Vigen Der Manuelian and Lucy Der Manuelian. Also survived by many loving nieces and nephews and his devoted assistant of 47 years, Dotti Burke.


Funeral service on Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 10 AM at First Armenian Church, 380 Concord Avenue, Belmont. Visiting hours at the Aram Bedrosian Funeral Home, 558 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown on Friday, December 9, from 4-8 PM.


In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Armenian Museum of America (or ALMA), 65 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472. Internment at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge."

The Passing Of Our Founder And Chairman

Haig Der Manuelian May 23, 1926 || December 1, 2016

Haig Der Manuelian May 23, 1926 || December 1, 2016

It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of our Board Chairman and one of our Founders, Haig Der Manuelian. Haig passed away last evening surrounded by his family.

A Quote From Our President, Michele M. Kolligian:

"Today is a sad day for all of us at the Armenian Museum of America as we mourn the passing of our leader. Haig was a proud Armenian and man of strength who excelled in every aspect of his life. His devotion and passion for the betterment of the Armenian Museum was unwavering. He worked diligently, selflessly and with great integrity. A true visionary, Haig demonstrated a deep passion and dedication that made it possible for this institution to thrive and grow into the world-class Museum it is today. His commitment and perseverance were the driving force behind all of us to continue his legacy. I miss you already, Haig. You were my mentor and dear friend; I am honored to have been given your blessing and confidence to help carry the torch that you so brilliantly lit."

We will be providing a full obituary and funeral arrangements once they are made available. The Board of Trustees and Staff of the Armenian Museum of America wish to convey our sincere condolences to Haig's wife Adele, his four sons, Mark, Matthew, Michael, Martin and their families, along with his friends, clients and coworkers that he leaves behind.

An Intro To ALMA

So for those who may be unaware (I certainly was before I started working here), Armenia is a little country in the Middle East bordered by Turkey, Georgia, Iran and Azerbaijan (all of which have been getting copious news coverage of late). And guess what? The Kardashians are not the only Armenians in America!


Here are some fun Armenia facts that have nothing to do with the Kardashians (you know, in case it comes up at a trivia night or something):

  • Armenia is mainly known for being the first nation in the world to declare Christianity as its official religion.
  • Disciples Thaddeus and Bartholomew both took the Great Commission to Armenia as its first evangelizers and were also both martyred there, giving the Armenian church its apostolic identity
  • Its capital is Yerevan, and is also known as the pink city (named for the pink volcanic rock most of the buildings are made of)
  • Mount Ararat, the mountain where Noah’s Ark landed after the flood, is a national symbol for the country. Although the mountain officially became a part of Turkey in the 1920s, it still has a deep cultural significance to Armenians.

The Armenian Museum of America has a pretty substantial history of its own. In 1971, a group of Armenians in Eastern Massachusetts began gathering artifacts from their friends and neighbors in the community and started, what is today, the Armenian Museum, in the basement of a church in Belmont.

After eventually opening the collections to the public and then outgrowing the rented church basement, the Museum Board purchased a new space in 1988: a bank in the middle of Watertown, which is the center of one of the largest Armenian communities in America.


The Museum is five spacious floors of basement vault storage, exhibition and gallery space, and administrative offices. There are actually two other Armenian organizations (Project SAVE Photograph Archives and the Armenian International Women’s Association) with offices in the building mixed in among the galleries.

The main Museum that’s open to the public is on 3 floors: the first two floors are more "permanent" exhibitions, while the 3rd floor is almost exclusively dedicated to more contemporary Armenian artists and artwork.

The ‘Who Are the Armenians’ Exhibit is the very first thing you encounter when you walk in the front door (after the gift shop), which is super helpful since the majority of the Museum visitors are not Armenian and have little to no knowledge about the Armenian culture and history. It gives a great run-down of Armenian history, starting with the very beginnings of human civilization and the first Armenian kings, through the adoption of Christianity, the periods of conquering, incorporation and habitation by various empires like the Ottoman Turks and later Soviet Russia, the massacres and Genocide of the late 1800s and early 1900s at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, up to the country (the Republic of Armenia) winning its independence just 25 years ago, and modern Armenia.


Other exhibits on the first floor include the Bedoukian Gallery, which houses highlights from the Museum collections (which range from coins and metalwork, to ceramics and textiles), and the Karsh Gallery. Now, I definitely did not recognize the name Yousuf Karsh before I started working at the Museum, but if you’ve ever taken a history class, you’ve already been exposed to his work in one way or another:


Karsh was a Canadian-Armenian photographer who spent the beginning and end of his career in Boston and took *just a few* portraits of some of the most influential people of the 20th century. Some of his subjects that appear in the Armenian Museum’s gallery, donated by his wife Estrellita, include Ernest Hemingway, MLK, Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Walt Disney, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Mother Theresa, and Jacques Cousteau. And as you can see from my quick google image search above, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He also photographed Dwight Eisenhower, JFK, the Queen of England, Salvador Dali, Castro, and many many others. Even if you’re not terribly interested in Armenian History in general (let’s be honest though, you should get interested), seeing a portion of this man’s work in person is absolutely astounding and worth a visit on its own.

The second floor’s only permanent exhibition is one on the Armenian Genocide. This mass extermination of 1.5 million people makes some think they may have missed something in high school history class. Don’t worry; you didn’t. They don’t teach it. The United States doesn’t even recognize this tragedy as genocide. The extensive timeline of the Genocide on the second floor will make up for everything you weren’t taught about it in school.

Other than the Genocide Exhibit, the second floor is also home to a number of rotating exhibits. One example, which is on rotation right now, is a new spin on a collection the Museum has had for a number of years: the Garabedian Metal Collection.

Like I mentioned earlier, the third floor gallery is dedicated almost exclusively to more contemporary artwork. Most of the time, the artwork is by Armenian artists, but for last May’s Genocide Commemoration event, we had 3 very special exhibitions made by and/or for women who have been affected by Genocide.

So there you have it! A little stateside slice of Armenia where I get to go and work every day. If you’re looking for more information on the Armenian Museum, you can go to the homepage of our website, our Facebook page, or keep checking back here as we add more to our blog!

This post originally appeared and is being used with permission from the Barn To Beantown Blog

Winners Announced for Museum Sports Raffle Drawing


The Armenian Museum of America concluded its 11th annual Sports Raffle fundraiser with a massive milestone. Raising more than $47,000 this year, the Sports Raffle has now raised more than $500,000 total since its beginning in 2005.

Proceeds from the fundraiser enable the Museum to continue educating and engaging with the community in offering free programs, events, and exhibitions showcasing Armenian culture, people and history, to the public.

This year’s Final Inning Party, held on July 19 in the Adele and Haig Der Manuelian Galleries in the Museum, brought friends and donors of the Museum together to celebrate with a Fenway-style menu of hotdogs, pizza, snacks and beverages befitting baseball.

Each year, the Museum invites a special sports celebrity to draw the winning tickets for the raffle, and this year, the Director of Football & Head Coach Administration for Bill Belechick and the New England Patriots, Berj Najarian, was drawing the lucky winners.

Winning prizes included the Grand Prize 22-seat Fenway Park Luxury Box, as well as 9 other sets of tickets to see the Patriots, the Bruins, the Celtics, and more Red Sox games. This year, a separate drawing was also available to win an NFL football signed by Tom Brady and Randy Moss.

In an amusing turn of events at the end of the drawing, newly-elected ALMA Board President, Michele Kolligian, won the Grand Prize Fenway Box. Before the party was over, Kolligian had decided to donate the Grand Prize tickets to a children’s charity in order to give children, who may not otherwise have the opportunity, a chance to attend a game at Fenway. See the full list of winners below:

  • 1st Prize: Michele Kolligian (donating to charity)
  • 2nd Prize: Michael Heath
  • 3rd Prize: Stepan & Christine Kanarian
  • 4th Prize: Andrea Berberian
  • 5th Prize: Ken & Diane Samuelian
  • 6th Prize: Byron Hartunian
  • 7th Prize: Daron Merian
  • 8th Prize: Krikor Sabounjian
  • 9th Prize: Gerald Boghosian
  • 10th Prize: Krikor Sabounjian
  • Signed Football: David Aykanian

The Armenian Museum extends its sincere gratitude to all those who bought tickets, our donors, trustees, and everyone who has worked to make the Sports Raffle fundraiser such a huge success.

Congratulations again to all of the winners!

November 1 Concert a Hit at the Armenian Museum

The Adele & Haig Der Manuelian Galleries of the Armenian Museum of America were filled to capacity this past Sunday afternoon for the premiere performance of The Bostonians in a concert titled "Popular Songs by Armenian Composers." The performance was the second in a series jointly sponsored by the Armenian Museum, the Composer's Union of Armenia and the Amaras Art Alliance, and funded by the Dadourian Foundation.


The standing-room-only audience was treated to the vocal talents of soprano, Nouné Karapetian; mezzo-soprano, Roselin Osser; tenor, Michael Calmés; and baritone, Philip Lima, along with dazzling accompaniment on piano by William Merrill.

The wide variety of music moved from perfectly synchronous quartets to a number of solos from each artist, with highlights including a heartfelt rendition of Im Yerevan (Vagharshag Kotoyan) from Calmés, along with more humorous pieces like Hor-Hor's Cuplets (Tigran Chukhadjian) from Lima, and a playful duet of Yot Kuyrer (Aram Satunts) from Karapetian and Osser.

Each song, performed in Armenian, was made even more impressive as, with the exception of Karapetian, who is of Armenian descent, none of the other artits speak the language. Osser, Calmés and Lima all learned the texts of the pieces phonetically in order to sing their respective roles so convincingly in Armenian, and they were all awarded an honorary "-ian" in their names at the conclusion of the performance by Armenian Museum Director, Berj Chekijian. The audience participated enthusiastically in the encore song, Kenats Yerg (Aram Meranglooyan), which was met by a resounding standing ovation. Audience members had the opportunity to meet with the performers at a reception following the concert.

Konstantin Petrossian, co-chairman of the Foreign Department of the Composer's Union of Armenia, a composer, pianist and conductor, served as the artistic director for the performance.