It all began in a church parish house in Belmont, Massachusetts in 1971, when a group of Armenian educators, professionals and business leaders began collecting Armenian books and artifacts. The collection grew steadily, and in 1985 the Armenian Museum of America opened its doors to the public for the first time. The museum rented the ground floor of The First Armenian Church of Belmont, Massachusetts, where it operated for several years, independently from the church. After outgrowing the rented space, the Armenian Museum of America purchased and renovated its present building in 1988. A former bank designed by renowned architect Ben Thompson, it is a modern, four-story brick and glass building in the heart of Watertown, Massachusetts, the center one of America’s largest Armenian communities.