I came to see the Karsh photo portraits; I left knowing much more about Armenia and its people and history.
The Karsh photography is easy to like. He photographed many famous faces of the mid-20th century: Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Georgia O'Keeffe, Martin Luther King, Jr., Walt Disney, Norman Rockwell, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others. I found myself looking at their poses, their hands, and how he must have directed them. Martha Graham pressing a hand to her chest, elbow twisted up high. Dr. King looking high over his shoulder, up into the light.
A long exhibit hall tells the history of Armenia. Fascinating artifacts are on display nearby, from religious objects to weapons to textiles to rugs to books, including a copy of the second book ever printed in the Armenian language, from 1512.
Upstairs is a very sad exhibit about the Armenian genocide of 1915. You just shake your head, speechless. The victors may try to write the history books, but the Armenians have their chapter and their voice here.
Also upstairs is an exhibit on the history of the printed book in Armenia, and several examples of traditional dress and jewelry. More art is on display on another upstairs floor where the offices are; take an elevator or the stairs located to the right of the main desk.
One last unexpected treat from this compelling museum: look for the original 1970s Cher (Cherilyn Sarkisian) fashion dolls for sale in the gift shop.
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