Permanent Exhibition

The Museum continually displays highlights from its permanent collection. The majority of the Museum's holdings come from the private collection of Jacques Marchais, formed during the early 1920s through the late 1940s, which include sculptures, thangka paintings, ritual artifacts, musical instruments and historic photographs of Tibet. The Museum's collection includes objects not only of cultural, historical, and aesthetic interest but also of spiritual significance to the living traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

Special Exhibition

Bhutanese Sand Mandala

In February 2005, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art was pleased to host three Buddhist monks from Bhutan in celebration of Losar, the Buddhist New Year, from Wednesday, February 9th - Sunday, February 13th. The week's events included the creation of a sand mandala painting. The completed sand mandala will remain on display for an extended viewing period.

Current Exhibition

From Staten Island to Shangri-La: The Collecting Life of Jacques Marchais

On View March 18, 2007 - December 31, 2008

The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art celebrates its 60th anniversary of the Museum's official opening with the installation of a new exhibition, From Staten Island to Shangri-La: The Collecting Life of Jacques Marchais. The exhibit, curated by Dr. Sarah Johnson, features some of the finest examples of Himalayan art from the Museum's collection, Jacques Marchais' journals and publications, rare books, memorabilia, historical photos of the impressive construction of the Museum, and period displays of her elegant gallery installations.

The exhibition reveals the previously untold story of Jacques Marchais (1887-1948), an extraordinary American woman who created a Center to share with the world the ancient artistic and cultural traditions of Tibet and the Himalayan region. Because of her passionate drive to amass a fine collection of Tibetan objects in the 1920s - 1940s, New York City possesses one of the nation's earliest collections of high-quality Tibetan art housed in a remarkable setting. Jacques Marchais built her vision: a unique site that included extensive terraced gardens, a research Library and a Museum resembling a Himalayan mountain monastery.


Arranged chronologically, this exhibition details Jacques Marchais' early life as a child actress in the late Victorian period, her social life and spiritual quest in New York City in the 1920s, and her intense desire to build an enduring monument to Tibetan Buddhism during the eras of the Great Depression and World War II. This exhibition contributes to Asian art scholarship by explaining Jacques Marchais' role as an early 20th century popularizer of Himalayan culture, and places her in the context of a larger movement of interest in Buddhism.