Construction has already begun at the site after years of hard work and donations - making the dream become a reality.
"As a product of this community in Glendale and as a lifelong resident, I am so excited that this venue is being built here in our jewel city — and as a father with two young kids, we always talk about cultural preservation, but also cultural celebration. So, for them and all the young in the region, I am very excited that they are going to have a place where they will be able to benefit from all of public programming and opportunities that we are going to create," said Shant Sahakian, Executive Director of the Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center.
In the summer of 2021, the museum celebrated the groundbreaking of the landmark center. Since then, the project's opening date is right on schedule.
"Our demonstration kitchen is a space that’s going to teach culture through food. For many of us, we think of our family members who have passed down cooking traditions to us that we hope to pass down to our next generation — and also the learning center where we hope to provide a wide range of educational opportunities for our young people," Sahakian explained.
There will be programming that honors and recognizes Armenian history, culture and heritage, but the goal and idea of this museum goes beyond that.
"As a public institution, we hope that the museum is going to be a center where diverse communities from across the region, organizations, community groups are going to be able to host seminars, lectures, panel discussions, community events — and that it’s truly a living breathing building that is serving all," said Sahakian.
When Glendale Mayor Paula Devine was first approached about the idea of this museum, she immediately jumped on board.
"I am Ukrainian. I don't know a lot about my grandparents, but I’ve always admired the Armenian population because they know everything about their history, their culture, their arts, the struggles that they had- and I think it's time that we all learn about that, because we have a lot of residents in Glendale that don't really know or understand the Armenian culture and the resiliency of this some part of our city," said Mayor Devine.
Once completed, Mayor Devine believes this will create a fruitful opportunity for the local economy, bringing people to the heart of Glendale to visit, eat, shop and do business.
Mayor Devine has lived in Glendale since the 1970s and talked about how much the city has changed over the years.
"At that time Glendale was kind of a sleepy city. Young people were moving away because they would say to me ‘there's nothing to do here, I want to raise a family and find a spouse.’ Now, young people are staying because we have a lot to offer— we have the arts, we have entertainment, we have shopping—so it has changed a lot," said Devine.
"We are very grateful to the city of Glendale for dedicating such a premiere location for the museum. The museum will be part of what we call the museum campus at Central Park," said Sahakian.
Central Park is also going through its own redesign and expansion. Devine said in the beginning the only thing she got any pushback on was about the park.
"We got a little pushback about you're taking our park away, but now we're going to have a bigger park than ever, so the initial pushback was only about location, not about the intent of the museum. But now that we're going to have this bigger park and it's going to be an active park," said Mayor Devine.
"The museum is a historic opportunity to not only preserve our history and heritage for the Armenian community but also to build bridges and relationships," said Sahakian.
Recently a naming opportunity program was announced, allowing individuals and families to forever associate their name with the museum in sponsoring the very spaces that are going to be inside the museum building.
Following the Legacy Gala on March 27, 2022, the museum announced it has surpassed the $31 million fundraising milestone.
The museum is expected to open to the public in the summer of 2024.
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