The mission of The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art is to present the art, culture and history of Tibet to the public in an effort to include the contributions of this ancient culture into contemporary conversations about global interdependence and understanding. In doing so the museum hopes to inspire a deeper appreciation for the values of Tibetan philosophy which is deeply rooted in the belief that enlightenment can be found in the search for wisdom - and in the daily practice of compassion.
Jacques Marchais (1887-1948) was the pioneering American woman who created this unique institution just over 75 years ago. Her aim was to create a repository for the Himalayan art in her collection (the collection remains one of the largest in The United States). Ultimately, she became likewise focused on the idea of creating a retreat -- in the Himalayan style -- which would inspire visitors to the museum.
The stone buildings represent the first -- and to this day -- one of the only true examples of Tibetan architecture in the United States. Newspaper articles in 1991 noted that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was impressed by the authenticity of the design during a visit he made to the museum in that year. In 2009, the site was listed on the New York State Register and National Register of Historic Places.
In addition to presenting a portion of the collection (the entire collection includes some 5000 items and artifacts) we offer a wide array of programs to the public -- all at nominal cost. We host weekly guided meditations and Tai Chi. And we offer a wide variety of programs throughout the year -- including educational activities for school-age children. The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art is in every way a living museum.
However, as an article in The New York Times (05.31.19) noted: “despite its rich history and holdings, the museum today is showing its age and the burdens of being a small institution with limited funds.”
We had embarked upon an ambitious renovation plan which now seems somewhat more uncertain in these unsettling times. In addition, we were planning on raising $25,000 - $30,000 in 2020 through a number of special events. All programs and fundraising events from March until the present time have had to be canceled in deference to the call to limit large-scale functions in New York.
If this is not the right time for you to donate, please consider visiting us when we are able to open our doors again to the public. The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art is situated high atop Lighthouse Hill on Staten Island. (338 Lighthouse Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10306). The museum is not only a New York City resource…it is within a relatively short drive of many parts of New Jersey as well.