Disappearance of the Armenian Museum of France

Mr. Nicolas Fringhian, manager of Musée Arménien de FranceOpens in a new tab., informs Aypoupen that Le MAF, inaugurated in Paris in 1953, is on the cusp of disappearing.

Le MAF represents the culture and traditions of Armenia through ceramics, translated Bibles and other liturgical works, religious objects, amulets, paintings, and about 500 coins. The museum is currently closed to the public without any re-opening date expected, but the collection remains presented on its website.

A support committee has been created in Paris in order to save the museum and this part of Armenian culture in the Diaspora. A petitionOpens in a new tab. was also launched and has already been signed by 9.000 people. It describes the situation quite well.

For further information about this situation, you may visit the site of the museum, or join their Facebook page by clicking hereOpens in a new tab., and you can watch below the interview with the director of the museum that has been recently made with the Civilnet TV station.

Mr. Fringhian has also presented us with the press release with official documents (letters from the Ministry of Culture, from the French President, etc.) that explain in detail the whole story.


Press release

We must save the Armenian Museum of France.

The Armenian Museum of France (AMF), which holds one of the largest collections of Armenian art in Europe, some of which masterpieces were exhibited at the Louvre, is closed and no longer has access to its collection.

The museum is thus obliged to decline all institution’s lending requests that are addressed to it for the centenary commemoration of the Armenian genocide, which takes place in April 2015.

Lies, broken promises, prohibiting access to the museum’s team…, we call on the Ministry of Culture to honor its commitments and to return the Armenian Museum to its exhibition status.

Remembering the facts: 1953: A ministerial decree assigned the use of the ground floor of the Ennery building (59 Avenue Foch, Paris, 16th) to the AMF.


The Ennery Museum, located on the top floor and under the authority of the Guimet Museum, originated from the donation of the Ennery spouses of their hotel and its collection to the State (doc. n°1).

1995: Security problems on the first floor caused the closure of the building. This closure was extended until 2011 due to a lack of public funding for the upgrading.

An exceptional opening on the ground floor was obtained through the intervention of the President of the Republic Jacques Chirac during the Year of Armenia in France (doc. n°2 and 3). This showcased the exhibition “The Paths of Armenia” which received 6000 visitors in six weeks.

During this year, several works from the collection of the AMF were loaned to the Louvre for the “Armenia Sacra” exhibition.

2011: The Ministry of Culture through the voice of its Head Director of Heritage (Directeur Général des Patrimoines), wrote to the AMF that the rehabilitation of the Ennery Museum was finally on the agenda and required removal of the collections of the AMF for safety.

He stated: “I certify the resettlement -of the Armenian museum- in the same Ennery building at the end of construction in April 2012” (doc. n°4 and 5). Collections of the AMF were thus put in crates and moved for rehabilitation.

The Ennery museum was inaugurated in March 2012 in the presence of the Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand.

Bronze Oxidatation III C BC
Bronze Oxidatation III C BC

May 2012: Following the return of an AMF exhibition outside its walls, the museum’s team found all of the designated AMF rooms occupied by storage for the Ennery museum, and the Guimet museum authority refused to remove them (doc. n°6).

On the intervention of the Direction des Musées, following many requests from the AMF, the Ministry of Culture approved partial repatriation of the Armenian museum collections, which were kept in crates in their spare room in the Ennery building, but access to the exhibition rooms was still prohibited.

French Presidency also recognizes the commitment of the Ministry of Culture to have the AMF back in its exhibition space (doc. n°8 and 9).

March 2014: The Guimet museum authorities changed the locks of the AMF premises and denied access to AMF’s team. The lack of response from the Ministry of Culture thus actually prevents any participation of the Armenian Museum to commemorate the centenary of the Armenian genocide (doc. n°10 to 15).

Today, the museum work is totally stopped, and no one knows what has happened to the Armenian museum collections.

By Simon Samsonian 1948
By Simon Samsonian 1948

Since April 2014: Proceedings are pending in the Paris courts so that the museum’s rights can be restored, regain access to its collections, and obtain an explanation of the determination by the Ministry of Culture not to reinstate the Armenian Museum of France in its agreed place.

2015: Noting has changed and the AMF situation is still the same. A petition that has already collected more than 8,000 signatures on change.org has been launched and is addressed to the President of the Republic François Hollande and the Minister of Culture Fleur Pellerin.

Press contact Support Committee of the Armenian Museum of France

Mail: [email protected]
Tel: +33 (0)783 073 628

Information on the Armenian Museum Of France
Website: www.le-maf.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ArmenianMuseumOfFrance
Petition Link www.change.org/p/fleur-pellerin-save-the-armenian-museum-of-france

Interview of Frederic Fringhian for CivilNet

Araz Tavitian

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