About Project SAVE:
History / Mission / Vision

Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization whose mission is to collect, document, preserve, and present the historic and modern photographic record of Armenians and Armenian heritage.

 

"Project SAVE is not only a photograph archive, but also serves as a witness to history. As a writer, I am deeply concerned about the preservation of Armenian artifacts and images of our history from before and during the Genocide. This is important for historians and researchers. For a great, ancient civilization that was nearly wiped off the earth in 1915, the reconstruction of our past is essential to our present and future."

 

Peter Balakian -
Pen Award Winning Author of 'Black Dog of Fate' and 'Sad Days of Light',
Professor of English, Colgate University

 


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Project Save: 40 Years and Beyond

A documentary by Walker Creek Media, featuring music by Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian

History

Founded in 1975 by Ruth Thomasian, Project SAVE Archives, located in Watertown, Massachusetts, currently has a
growing collection of more than 45,000 photographs dating from 1860. Unique in its mission, Project SAVE preserves
the fragmented heritage of the dispersed Armenian people through photographs and memories of life in historic Armenia.
Project SAVE's collection of photographs chronicles the life and culture of the Armenian people during the Ottoman,
Russian, and Persian empires,in the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia, as well as in today's Republic of Armenia,
in the Armenian Diaspora created in the wake of the Genocide, with particular emphasis on the Armenian-American community.
Each image is painstakingly documented and catalogued by founder and executive director, Ruth Thomasian, and her dedicated
(mostly volunteer) staff. Thomasian often spends hours interviewing photo donors as they document their photographs with
stories about thir lives, ancestors, and cultural details. These interviews are tape recorded and become part of Project
SAVE's oral history tape collection, currently in excess of 1000 hours from nearly 600 interviewees. In addition to
promoting greater knowledge of the history and culture of Armenians and Armenian-Americans, Project SAVE also strives to
document the lives and works of Armenian photographers. It is through their work that so many images of historic Armenian
life and traditions were captured and preserved.

MISSION

As the premier archive of Armenian photographs in the United States, Project SAVE Archives' principal mission is to
collect, document, preserve, and present the photographic record of all Armenians. Project SAVE strives to increase
knowledge of Armenian culture and heritage by encouraging the use of its extensive collection of photographs, together
with its many other resources, to the widest possible audience. It aims to contribute back to the community by supporting
and collaborating with other historical, cultural, and educational organizations.

VISION

Project SAVE continues to expand its collection of historical and vintage photos with their documentation and
oral tapes of the donors. Our purpose is to make our resources available and increase our outreach to the
academic communities, to the general public, as well as to the greater Armenian community.

In order to achieve our purpose, we need full-time professional staff operating in a larger office space that meets
archival standards for temperature and humidity control, and we need an endowment that will insure this professional care
of our treasured collections.