AUGUSTA — The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine joins the Armenian Cultural Association of Maine to present “Nor Ashkhar: Maine Armenians in the Century After Genocide” opening Thursday, April 16, and running through May 29, at the Michael Klahr Center on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta, according to a news release from the center.

The new exhibit is an opportunity to learn about the first genocide of the 20th century, which took place in April of 1915, and to learn about Maine’s long connection with the Armenian people, which began with Waterford native Cyrus Hamlin (nephew of President Lincoln’s first vice president Hannibal Hamlin) in 1838. A missionary, Cyrus Hamlin established Robert College in Istanbul specifically for Armenian refugees who were targeted as second class citizens. Maine’s relationship with the Armenian people continued through the violent attacks of the late 19th century and by the turn of the 20th century, a strong Armenian community existed in Portland, with other families scattered around Maine mostly with the help of Frances Willard and Mainer Lilian Stevens and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. In addition to contextual materials about the Armenian Genocide and the events leading up to it, the exhibit includes stories, photographs and artifacts borrowed from Mainers of Armenian descent.

The Klahr Center will host a free, fun and informative exhibit opening from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 16, featuring Armenian food, drinks and a program that will include information about the genocide, the Armenians in Maine, and Armenian poetry. In addition there will be a performance by members of the Armenian band Okbari. The opening event is sponsored by the Armenian Cultural Association of Maine, and John Christie and Naomi Schalit.

The exhibit is free to visit and open 10 .m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by appointment through May 29. For more information, visit www.hhrcmaine.org, call 621-3531, or email [email protected].

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