History of AHARI

Organized in the fall of 1997, the Armenian Historical Association of Rhode Island chartered itself to promote Armenian culture, heritage and history to preserve its national heritage. Led by volunteers and supported through memberships and donations, we wish to chronicle our stories through storyboards, photographic exhibitions, artifacts and multimedia technology. 

We are in the process of building our archives about Armenian life in Rhode Island past and present. We have photographs, artifacts, books and other historical materials including Rhode Island based data-bases that can help individuals trace the migration and backgrounds of their family ancestors.

AHARI is a consortium of approximately 30 cultural, political and religious groups that have representation as board members of the Association plus 12 non-affiliated individuals.  AHARI is a non-profit, non-sectarian, non-political corporation organized exclusively for educational purposes within the meaning of section 501 © 3 of the IRS Code. Thus, making it a tax exempt corporation under Rhode Island and federal law and tax deductible for contributions.   

AHARI opened its doors – for the first time – on May 13, 2017 with an eclectic exhibition showing our Armenian past through the donations and collections of many Rhode Islanders.  The museum is located in the Bliss Building on Providence’s East Side – at 245 Waterman Street, Suite 204. 

Chronology of Rhode Island Armenians 

1657: Colonial Newport hints of Armenian names
1877: Founder of the Armenian Community arrives in Providence
1882: First established business in Rhode Island
1889: First Armenian religious ceremony performed in Providence
1891: Antecedent of the Euphrates Evangelical Armenian Church organized
1891: First Armenian graduates from Brown University
1906: Largest Armenian political rally is held in Providence
1913: Sts. Sahag & Mesrob Church purchased from Baptists
1915: Beginning of the Armenian Genocide
1917: A hundred and five Rhode Island volunteers join Legion de Orient to fight Turks
1918: First Republic of Armenia established
1933: Armenian Apostolic Church splits
1936: Rhode Island Armenians participate in 300-year Providence anniversary
1940: Sts. Vartanantz Church purchased from Episcopalians
1960: First visit of Supreme Patriarch of the Armenian Church to Rhode Island
1977: Martyrs’ Memorial Monument constructed at North Burial Grounds
1992: Independent State of Armenia established
1999: Armenian flag flies over the Rhode Island’s Statehouse
2000: First Armenian elected as mayor of a Rhode Island city

(source: Mitchnapert: The Citadel – A History of the Armenians of Rhode Island by Varoujan Karentz,  iUniversity, Inc. New York 2004)