The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative has allocated a US $10,000 grant to the Matenadaran, the national repository of ancient manuscripts named after Mesrop Mashtots, to help it create Digital Matenadaran and present its main exhibition hall online, informs Aurora.
This new project will give visitors an opportunity to take a virtual walk around the central hall of one of the world’s largest museums of Armenian manuscripts. Digital Matenadaran, planned to occupy a new section at the Matenadaran’s website, will be designed as a virtual exhibition with both text and audio descriptions.
It will allow users to virtually stroll through the exhibition and to study more than 100 items of manuscript treasures, including exclusive samples of Armenian miniatures, presented in high-resolution digitalized copies with zoom-in options.
“It’s no longer possible to imagine our lives without use of high technologies. The world’s leading museums pay special attention to the organization of interactive exhibitions and displays, which would be available on online platforms as well. This project is another important milestone in popularizing the rich cultural heritage kept at the Matenadaran through the digital platform and making it more available to the world. And in this important endeavor, we have the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative next to us,” said Vahan Ter-Ghevondyan, Director of Matenadaran.
The new project, Digital Matenadaran, will allow people from around the world to virtually wander around the exhibitions while getting insightful descriptions provided in several languages and accompanied by medieval Armenian music in the background.
“In the five years since the launch of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, it has always been an honor to support the Matenadaran. Aurora was founded on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide, and promoting Armenian heritage and history remains one of the core values on its agenda. As the coronavirus pandemic affected museums worldwide, going online and curating virtual experiences became critical to maintain a meaningful connection with the visitors. Aurora is delighted to be able to assist the Matenadaran in this much-needed endeavor,” noted Vartan Gregorian, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.
This is Aurora’s fifth grant to the Matenadaran, allocated within the Aurora Grants program and in accordance with the Memory Act. Through the Aurora Grants, the descendants of the Armenian Genocide survivors seek to honor the memory of their ancestors’ saviors by supporting educational initiatives and preserving Armenian heritage while promoting awareness of humanitarian efforts and Armenian history.
In 2015, funds from Aurora enabled the Matenadaran to purchase a special scanner to digitize manuscripts. More than 4324 manuscripts, archival documents and antiquarian books have been digitized to date thanks to this equipment. The 2016 grant funded the training of ten guides in Germany, while in 2017-2020, Aurora helped the Matenadaran organize more than 50 lectures for scholars and researchers and create an interactive map of Armenian scriptoria while supporting its other educational and academic programs.