Markey Praises White House Display of Armenian Orphan Rug

Washington (April 30, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today announced that the treasured “Armenian Orphan Rug” will be displayed later this year and praised President Obama and the White House for working to display this important symbol. The Armenian Orphan Rug was made by survivors of the Armenian Genocide and presented to then-President Calvin Coolidge in 1925 in appreciation of American assistance to the survivors of the genocide. It took Armenian girls in the Ghazir Orphanage of the Near East Relief Society ten months to weave. The rug could be displayed as early as late summer or early fall and a timeline for exhibition will be finalized by the White House soon. A venue for the display that is appropriate, sensitive and open to the public is currently being sought.


“The Armenian Orphan Rug is an important symbol of the longstanding friendship between America and Armenia,” said Senator Markey. “Displaying this significant piece of history will serve as reminder that we will never forget the Armenian Genocide and highlight the continued need to work towards its proper recognition. I commend President Obama and the White House for working with me and my Congressional colleagues to ensure that this rug is given the historic exhibition is truly deserves.”


“The display of this tangible expression of gratitude for America’s humanitarian intervention to save the survivors of the Armenian Genocide is a positive development,” said Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.


“We thank Senator Markey for his continuing efforts to seek the release and respectful display of the Armenian Orphan Rug, a powerful symbol of the American humanitarian spirit, woven by child survivors of the Armenian Genocide,” said Aram S. Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America. “The fact that we are, today, speaking about finally holding an event for a historic piece of art, that has been hidden away for decades, is a strong statement about the tireless leadership of our Congressional friends in finally securing the release of this iconic American artifact.” 


Senator Markey wrote to President Obama in December to urge him to make the rug available for display, consistent with the need to protect and preserve this precious reminder of a dark chapter in the history of Armenia and the world.