This year I took another week off to visit my family in Yerevan. Yesterday when strolling around the city I've discovered the Museum of Literature and Art after Yeghishe Charents. This tiny museum, situated behind the National Gallery, includes archives of almost all classics of Armenian literature, theater, music and cinematographic art from the 18th century up till now. In fact it is the continuation of Mashtots Matenadaran (repository of ancient manuscripts).
The Museum history begins its main activity in 1922 under the leadership of Yervand Shahaziz, the historian and philologist, who had brought the archives of major figures of Armenian literature such as M. Nalbandyan, S. Shahaziz, as well as documents, ancient books and other materials concerning the Armenians living in Nor-Nakhijevan and handed over to the museum. Since 1967 the Museum has been named after writer Y. Charents and from 1977 the museum houses materials related to the Armenian Cinematographic Art.
The literary collection of the museum is quite rich, where the Sayat-Nova’s note-book of songs (Davtar) created in 1750-s is the oldest one. There is a number of Armenian newspapers, magazines printed mainly outside of Armenia on display. Needless to say that the bilingual posters from Armenian theaters, printed using wood/metal type attracted my attention the most, as many of them were the originals and a only a few digital copies. But as there were mainly printed outside of Armenia I don't think I can find any material left in Yerevan (but I don't give up :). I've been told that the museum has a large archive of printed matter and what is on the display is just a tiny fraction of their collection. I will certainly make an appointment to visit their archive when I'm in Yerevan next time.
The stage clothes, accessories, hand-written plays, theatrical memoirs, bibliographic materials are carefully kept in the theatrical collection. The cinema section is the smallest one. The unique equipment by which the first Armenian films have been shot, cinema scripts, photos, sketches, posters and bills. This collection has been donated by the founder of Armenian cinematography, world-famous director and artist Hamo Beknazaryan, the Soviet cameraman D. Feldman and the founder of Armenian animation L.Atamanov.
Museum of Literature and Art is a hidden gem of the city and an absolute treasure for graphic designer or a typographer.
Museum of Literature and Art after Yeghishe Charents
St. Aram 1, Yerevan
Tuesday-Saturday - 11:00-17:00
Sunday - 11:00-16:00