Congressional Documents and Publications
April 30, 2014

Rep. Schiff Announces White House Will Display Armenian Orphan Rug

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) News Release


Washington, DC -Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced that the
White House has agreed to exhibit the "Armenian Orphan Rug" in the
near future, likely this fall. The rug, woven by orphans of the
Armenian Genocide in 1920, was presented to President Calvin Coolidge
in 1925 as a symbol of gratitude for American aid and generosity for
U.S. assistance during the genocide. The Armenian Orphan Rug, which
measures 11'7" x 18'5", has over 4,000,000 hand-tied knots and took
the Armenian girls in the Ghazir Orphanage of the Near East Relief
Society 10 months to weave.

President Coolidge noted that, "The rug has a place of honor in the
White House where it will be a daily symbol of goodwill on earth." The
rug - which has been in storage at the White House for decades - was
supposed to be released for exhibition in a Smithsonian event for the
launch of Hagop Martin Deranian's new book "President Calvin Coolidge
and the Armenian Orphan Rug." Unfortunately, the rug was not able to
be displayed at that time.

"Since first raising this issue with the Administration, I have worked
diligently with the White House to find a way for the Ghazir rug to be
sensitively and appropriately displayed," said Rep. Schiff. "Today,
I'm pleased to be able to say that planning is underway for the
Armenian Orphan Rug to be displayed as early as this fall. I have
worked out with the White House that the display will take place in a
venue that is open to the general public, and I appreciate their
willingness to place this significant artifact on display for all to

Schiff and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) sent a letter, along with 31
other Members, to President Obama last year urging the Administration
to allow exhibition of the rug. The full letter is below, and can be
found here, and in the letter they stated: "The Armenian Orphan Rug is
a piece of American history and it belongs to the American people. For
over a decade, Armenian American organizations have sought the public
display of the rug and have requested the White House and the State
Department grant their request on numerous occasions. Unfortunately,
Armenian Americans have yet to have their requests granted.We urge you
to release this American treasure for exhibition."

Since sending the letter, Schiff has worked with the White House to
find a way for the rug to be sensitively and appropriately displayed.
Details of the future exhibition will be released as they come

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