Armenian museum fights for its Paris home

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Director goes to court to regain access to the collection, after locks were changed on shared building

The Musée Arménien de France shares a state-owned building with the Musée d’Ennery

The Musée Arménien de France has been locked out of the Hôtel d’Ennery, a state-owned building in Paris that it has shared with the Musée d’Ennery since 1953.

The Armenian museum’s director, Frédéric Fringhian, has been fighting with the leadership of the Musée Guimet in Paris, the national museum of Asian art, which controls the building. In 2011, the Armenian museum was asked to temporarily move its collection of over 1,000 objects during renovations on the Musée d’Ennery. Although part of the collection was moved back in 2012, the Armenian museum’s space remains in poor condition and is unsafe for visitors, according to the Musée Guimet’s leadership.

Fringhian has now gone to civil court to regain full access to the building, which changed its locks in April. The Musée Guimet says the Armenian museum was given the option of showing its collection at the Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée in Marseilles. But Fringhian, whose complaint has already been rejected by one French court, maintains that the Paris building is the struggling museum’s “only life raft”.

Next year is the centenary of the massacre, which many believe was genocidal, of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire

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