Building Restoration Plan

Jacques Marchais (1887-1948)The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art was established in 1945 to promote the art, culture, and history of Tibet to a world audience. The Museum was founded by Jacques Marchais, a remarkable American woman who was an early 20th Century Collector of Tibetan and Himalayan art.

Marchais designed a museum and center that replicated the small mountaintop monasteries of Tibet so that visitors could enjoy the art in a contextual setting. The buildings are the oldest Himalayan-style architecture in the United States and they are listed on both the New York State Register and National Register of Historic Places. Marchais designed a museum and center that replicated the small mountaintop monasteries of Tibet so that visitors could enjoy the art in a contextual setting.

Mission and Vision

The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art’s mission is to present the art, culture, and history of Tibet to a world audience in order to educate and inspire appreciation of Himalayan cultures, and to foster better global understanding. This “Jewel on a Hillside” replicates the monasteries of Tibet as it contains the unique artifacts that reflect the art, history, culture, and religious articles that have been destroyed in their homeland. This singular place in the United States preserves site and artifacts in memory of the founder, and as a collection held in a contextual setting. The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art’s mission is to present the art, culture, and history of Tibet to a world audience in order to educate and inspire appreciation of Himalayan cultures, and to foster better global understanding. This “Jewel on a Hillside” replicates the monasteries of Tibet as it contains the unique artifacts that reflect the art, history, culture, and religious articles that have been destroyed in their homeland. This singular place in the United States preserves site and artifacts in memory of the founder, and as a collection held in a contextual setting.

The Museum is composed of two fieldstone buildings built directly into the side of Lighthouse Hill and overlooking the southern part of Staten Island. The buildings and grounds are an integral part of the visitor experience. It is the goal of the Board to restore and preserve this historic site.

Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art View from Front of Property

Work Plan

In 2011, the Museum board and staff held a retreat to re-affirm the Museum’s mission and develop a strategic plan. The plan consisted of three components, (1) Programming, Collections, and Operations, (2) Development and Fundraising, and (3) Buildings and Grounds. A team from the Museum then participated in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Strategic Planning Intensive Program where the plan was refined and implemented.

We believe the buildings are our greatest artifacts. The Buildings and Grounds committee has developed a comprehensive restoration and renovation plan that addresses the necessary repairs and renovations needed to preserve the buildings, enhance the visitor experience, and preserve and exhibit the collection which is held in trust for public benefit.

View of the Interior of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan ArtThis capital project supports the Museum’s mission, and the activities of the strategic plan in the following areas:

  • Preservation of a historic site.
  • Creating increased exhibit space.
  • Enhancing the visitor experience.
  • Expanding programmatic and educational offerings.

Capital Project – Museum Building

The capital project includes the following activities:

  1. Update of feasibility study.
  2. Stabilization of interior ceiling in Museum exhibition hall.
  3. Removal of old drop ceiling and installation of Tibetan-style ceiling.
  4. Slate capping of exterior stucco parapets to prevent water seepage into buildings.
  5. Installation of expanded drainage system along front wall of Museum.
  6. Replacement of cupola windows.
  7. Upgrade of mechanical systems for Library and Gallery building including environmental controls for proper display of artifacts.
  8. Upgraded electrical and lighting systems.
  9. Installation of upgraded technology systems including additional security cameras and upgraded alarm system.
  10. Repair of porticos and doors.
Archival Photo of Library Roof

Capital Project – Library Building

  1. Convert Library roof to outdoor roof deck.
  2. Repair portico roof on Library roof.
  3. Widen door to Library roof and add ADA accessible ramp.
  4. Upgrade interior heating systems.
  5. Upgrade bathroom for an additional stall.
  6. Renovate storage room.
  7. Reinforce garage floor with support columns.
  8. Convert garage to office space creating additional exhibition space in the library.
  9. Repair all exterior masonry.
  10. Repair and level all flagstones on patio.
  11. Add additional fencing in upper garden.
  12. Add enhanced exterior lighting.

Project Support

To date we have commitments of funding in the amount of $25,000 Bullet Aid Grant for technology upgrades from the office of NY State Senator Diane Savino and $125,000 in C-CAP funding from Assemblyman Michael Cusick. Additional capital grant applications have been submitted.

We need your help.

Donations for this capital project may be sent to:

Tibetan Museum – Capital Projects
338 Lighthouse Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10306

Please make checks payable to the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art.

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Thank you for your continued support of the Museum.