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Armenian Christian Art Exhibition Opens and Lives Up to Expectations

One man’s ten-year-old dream has finally been realized, aided and abetted, as dreams often must be, by a philanthropist with vision. “Treasures form the Ark; 1700 Years of Armenian Christian Art,” conceived and organized by the Rev. Vrej N. Nersessian, has opened at the British Library, thanks to the generous $500,000 support of Vatche and Tamar Manoukian and the Manoukian Charitable Foundation. It was Rev. Nersessian who started planning this exhibition in 1991 and then selected the treasures, contacted the directors and custodians of the museum and libraries, and wrote the instructive labels, as well as the stunning book that tells the exhibition’s story. It was Manoukian who paid for the transport of the treasures from their homes around the world, covered the insurance, paid for the construction of the exhibit, and covered all the other ancillary costs.

Scheduled to run until May 27, the free exhibition has every indication that it will live up to the claim made for it by the Library’s director that it would be its major exhibition for 2001.

With 130 treasures from the libraries and museums of Armenia and throughout the world, the exhibition has been described as “the most museological exhibition ever staged by the British Library. Many of the items have never been seen outside of Armenia and most are being seen together for the first time.

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