WASHINGTON, D.C.—Visitors of this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. had a unique opportunity to learn about Armenia not only through the traditional presentation of national food, crafts and music, but also through the means of technology. A multimedia e-book about Vayots Dzor featured at the festival made it possible for the viewers to go on a virtual journey to that beautiful Armenian province, visit historical sites, admire magnificent landscapes and feel the spirit of the local culture.
The e-book was co-published by the AGBU Armenian Virtual College and USAID-funded Smithsonian My Armenia Program. It is a comprehensive guidebook to Vayots Dzor, enhanced with multimedia features, such as video recordings, 3D images, 360-degree panoramic views, slideshows, audio narration and an interactive map.
“We are proud to partner with the Smithsonian Institution in our mission of introducing the wealth of the Armenian heritage to the world and am very pleased that the Vayots Dzor e-Book is being featured at this Folklife Festival,” AGBU AVC Founding President, Dr. Yervant Zorian, said. “This joint guidebook leveraged creative state-of-the-art solutions to promote the richness and diversity of Vayots Dzor’s nature and history and was designed to contribute to the greater number of visitors to this region.”
In addition to the chapters about the history, natural attractions, culture and traditions of the region, it contains a hotel and restaurant directory and an essential phrasebook, for an easy and enjoyable travel.
“The e-book is a great way people can discover the place, learn about it in the comfort of their home or the hotel, discover where they want to travel … It’s a perfect tool for planning a trip and a great tool when they’re actually on the trip,” Simon Jones from the Smithsonian My Armenia Program said.
During the narrative session “Making a Guidebook” at the 2018 Folklife Festival, Zorian, Jones and scholars Sabrina Papazian and Harutyun Marutyan shared their experience of working on the interactive e-guide about Vayots Dzor.
Earlier this month, “Vayots Dzor” and AVC’s two other e-books about Armenia, “The Armenian Highland” and “Discover Yerevan,” were featured at the series of travel events held in Boston, New York and D.C. to promote Armenia’s cultural heritage tourism offerings.
All the e-books are available in seven languages and can be viewed in a browser or downloaded free of charge on a tablet or smartphone.
AGBU Armenian Virtual College (AVC) is an accredited online learning institution that facilitates Armenian Studies through new technologies. Launched in 2009, AVC classes are open to anyone interested in Armenian Studies, creating a virtual classroom for students who do not have access to traditional, face-to-face Armenian educational programs, while supplementing the curriculum of those who do. AVC’s mission is to build a virtual learning community that fosters cultural education and social ties across the globe.