Jacques Marchais was one of the earliest collectors of Tibetan art in the United States, and in 1938 she established an art gallery which specialized in the art of India and Tibet. She amassed a collection of over 1000 pieces, including sculpture, ritual objects, musical instruments, thangkas or scroll paintings, and furniture. The objects are primarily from Tibet, Nepal, northern China, and Mongolia, and a few items are from Southeast Asia.
Located in the NYC boro of Staten Island, the museum is housed in a rustic complex of fieldstone buildings resembling a Tibetan mountain monastery, designed by Marchais, herself. The buildings represent the first Himalayan-style architecture be built in the US, and it was the first museum devoted solely to Tibetan art.
The Museum maintains a permanent exhibition of more than 125 objects and presents rotating exhibits that highlight specific aspects of Tibetan and Himalayan culture.