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Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
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Armenia is a small country nestled in the South Caucasus, at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. The first nation to adopt Christianity as its state religion, it is home to rich and resilient cultural traditions, beautiful landscapes, and complex histories. Still, Armenia remains a mystery to many around the world.
My Armenia harnesses the power of storytelling to strengthen cultural heritage sustainability through community-based tourism development. This collaborative project between the people of Armenia, the Smithsonian, and USAID will unfold over the next four years.
Drawing upon community-based research and engagement tools developed by Smithsonian Folklife Festival curators, through the My Armenia program we aim to deepen our understanding of the country’s living traditions and heritage sites. Strengthening the capacity and offerings of local museums, archaeological sites, artisans, and more will support Armenia’s cultural heritage by making these important elements more economically sustainable.
Focusing on rural areas outside of the capital city of Yerevan, Smithsonian and Armenian researchers will work together with local communities to identify and document their cultural expressions, including food, crafts, music, dance, and traditional knowledge. Through a diverse range of electronic and print platforms, we will use this information to promote and share stories about Armenia’s cultural, historic, and artistic riches with visitors from around the world.
The Smithsonian is dedicated to collaborating with communities to support their long-term cultural vitality. My Armenia aims to demonstrate the productive relationship that can occur when community-based, rigorous cultural heritage research informs economic development through sustainable cultural tourism.