The Jacques Marchais Center of Tibetan Art in State Island

The following article is from the Spring, 1988 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

The Jacques Marchais Center of Tibetan Art, also known as the Tibetan Museum, sits high atop Lighthouse Hill on Staten Island. Chosen in 1945 by Jacques Marchais, the professional name of Jacqueline Norman Klauber, for its resemblance to the Tibetan countryside, this summit marks the second highest point on the eastern seaboard. In 1947, to house her collection of Tibetan and other oriental art, Jacques Marchais completed construction of two stone buildings designed to resemble a Tibetan mountain temple.

Jacques Marchais grew up during the end of the 19th century in the midwest playing with 13 small bronze figurines brought from India by her greatgrandfather. In time, she developed her interest in oriental art and culture and spent her life building a collection that reflected her all-consuming love for oriental art. The objects in the museum's collection are primarily Tibetan, Sino-Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian, and Nepalese in origin and most date from the 17th to the early 20th centuries. Rich in brass, bronze, and copper figurines of deities and Buddhas, as well as a large number of thangka paintings, the collection also includes notable examples of jewel-encrusted Nepalese metalwork, a set of silver ceremonial implements belonging to a previous Panchen Lama, Tibetan miniature paintings and jewelry, dance masks, and decorative Chinese cloisonne work.

Among some of the museum programs scheduled for 1988 are: A performance of Korean folk dances; Chinese folktales told by a professional; and an electronic music concert by contemporary composer, Carl Michaelson. The Tibetan Museum also conducts an education and art program for school children.

This spring the museum will present TREASURES OF THE TIBETAN MUSEUM, an exhibition to be held from March 14 - April 15, 1988, at the City Gallery, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of New York, Two Columbus Circle, New York, New York. The exhibition will feature sculpture and thangka paintings, many not on view at the museum itself. There will also be a special section of thangkas recently restored by Tibetan artist, Pema Wangyal of Dolpo, along with photographs depicting how the paintings looked before restoration. City Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, from 10-5:30. Admission is free.

The Tibetan Museum is also sponsoring a trip to Tibet, departing New York on August 10th for Tibet via Hong Kong and Chengdu and will return on August 30th for those not continuing to East Tibet. The cost will be $3,895 per person, land costs only, including a $250 tax deductible contribution to the Tibetan Museum. Round trip air fare from New York will be $975 per person in addition. For those not leaving from New York we will arrange to meet in Hong Kong and air arrangements can be made privately or possibly with the museum's help. Directly following the trip through Central and South Tibet, we hope to explore Kham Province in East Tibet. A highlight of that journey will be several days' visit to the home village, high in the mountains, of Nima Dorjee, the museum's guide. According to Chinese agents, that part of the trip may cost an additional $2,500-$3,000 per person although figures are not yet firm and we might be able to do it for less. Space is limited and is available first to those who have already sent in their reservation deposit. There may still be a few places left, so if you are interested, please call the museum and request full details and itinerary as soon as possible.

The Tibetan Museum, 338 Lighthouse Ave., Staten Island, New York, Tel: (718) 987-3478. The museum is open Friday through Sunday in April, October, and November, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and Wednesday through Sunday, May through September. Admission is $2.50 for adults and $1.00 for children. Group tours may be arranged by appointment. Brochures and a Calendar of Events are available for the asking.

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