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Tibetan art museum receives state recognition

May 27, 2009

Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art named to
the New York State Register of Historic Places
by Karen O'Shea
Silve.com
May 25, 2009

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A Tibetan art museum
tucked away on Lighthouse Hill and built to
resemble a Himalayan mountain monastery has been
named to the New York State Register of Historic Places.

"The property is an extremely rare example of
Tibetan-inspired architecture in the U.S.," Dan
Keefe, a spokesman for the New York State Office
of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation,
said of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art.

The museum joins other notable Island
destinations like the Snug Harbor Cultural Center
and Botanical Garden, Borough Hall and the
Garibaldi-Meucci Museum on the state register,
which recognizes important historical, architectural and cultural places.

The designation is largely honorific, but could
help the museum apply for grants and funding for preservation.

And that's good news at a time when the Tibetan
museum, like many other cultural organizations,
is feeling the pinch of recession. The museum
will find out in July how much city funding it
can expect next year, and officials are pretty sure it will be less, not more.

Museum director Meg Ventrudo said a place on the
state register is also a mark of distinction for
the late museum founder, Jacques Marchais, an art
collector and the patroness who built the museum
in the 1940s with the help of master Italian stonemason Joseph Primiano.

"It really affirms Jacques Marchais' role as an
important collector of Asian art and one of the
first collectors of Tibetan art in the U.S.," Ms.
Ventrudo said of the designation.

With its meditation garden, temple and main
building, the museum was built to resemble a
Himalayan monastery and is the oldest example of
Tibetan-style architecture anywhere in the U.S.

Ms. Marchais ran a gallery in Manhattan but lived
next door to the museum she built. While she
never actually visited Tibet, her fascination
with Eastern religion and art-collecting
expertise prompted her to amass one of the finest
collections of Tibetan and Himalayan art.

Listing on the state register makes the museum
eligible to apply for state environmental protection fund grants.
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