New York Roerich Museum (EN)
LET’S STRENGTHEN THE BRIDGE OF COOPERATION
Written by Olga Olhovaya, Director of SibRO, Siberian Roerich Society
New York Roerich Museum, March 2008
“We were destined to be here, and this is very important, because our Museum is a link – namely the cultural link between the Soviet Union and America.”
For many years we have cherished a dream about traveling to New York, to the Nicholas Roerich Museum, which was established through the efforts of the Roerichs’ most trusted co-workers, first among whom was Sinaida Grigoryevna Fosdick. We imagined how we would see the paintings of the great artist, the priceless materials in the Museum’s archives, and express in person our gratitude to all the coworkers with whom in all these years we were able to communicate only through letters, and who steadfastly helped our Siberian Roerich Society. Our requests to them over the years were always responded to, and they never failed to send us all materials that we asked for.
During the time that the Novosibirsk Roerich Museum was under construction, there was no chance to visit the New York Roerich Museum, but when the construction was finished the possibility appeared.
In the official invitation sent to SibRO by the Director of the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York, Daniel Entin wrote, “We would like to invite you to come to visit us, to see how we work, to examine the materials in our archives, and to lay the groundwork for any future joint projects. We look forward to a positive response”.
Thanks to the help of friends, to which the collective of the Siberian Roerich Society expresses its great appreciation, this trip was made possible, and our small group of three people flew out to New York on the 7th of March.
The two weeks that we spent there flew by as if in an instant, but we are still pondering upon all that we saw and felt. Knowing how many of our friends are waiting for our report about the trip, after hearing such requests as “Tell us at least something, everything is important, every little thing” – we prepared this material to be published in our magazine, and also on SibRO’s website.
The story of acquiring the building situated on 107th street for the present Museum can be fully reconstructed through the correspondence of Helena Roerich addressed to Sina Fosdick in America in 1948-1949. The Master through Helena Ivanovna instructed the group of faithful disciples to purchase this particular building.
“When a house is for rent, even the crudest people will inspect every corner and express their feelings. Could We, then, place our disciples in uninspected dwellings? One must be aware of everything that surrounds one. One must sense all stratifications of the past before striving into the future”, – says the Teaching of the Living Ethics (Heart, 490).
On this quiet street all the buildings were built at the same time, at the turn of last century. Today’s dense building, characteristic everywhere in New York (and not very beautiful in itself), here is impossible because the buildings were declared landmarks, and thus no modern gigantic building of glass and metal could be put between the old houses.
The building in which the Museum is situated was built in 1898. It has a very narrow front: one window and the entrance door determined the width of the house. We were told that at the time when these houses were built there was big tax for front sides of the buildings, facing the street. That’s why most of the old buildings were narrow, but stretched backwards. If a house has normal proportions, it is evidence of the level of wealth of its owner.
From its back the Museum has an exit into a small yard with elevated ground. In summer it is filled with green plants and flowers. Here grows a big conifer, and on its branches squirrels jump about. The Museum’s workers buy bags of nuts and put them in a special basket on the ground floor window. When the squirrels have eaten all the nuts , they line up with angry faces at the window, waiting for more food.
As if it were quite normal, we were told about a raccoon that settled on the fire ladder on the level of the second floor window. Being in the quietness of this wonderful courtyard, observing busy squirrels and hearing birds’ twitter, it was very difficult to realize that we were in the center of a huge city full of the modern civilization’s achievements.
The Museum’s building has five floors and a deep basement. On the first three floors there are exhibition halls, on the others – offices, archives, and library. In the place where previously was the back service staircase there is now a modern elevator suited for visitors with restricted abilities. In the basement, besides its direct purpose, books, cards, and prints are packed for shipment.
Everyone who has visited any Museum understands that the available space is never quite sufficient to house the Museum’s full collections. The first room, where the visitors enter, is at the same time a vestibule, an exhibition hall, an office, and a kiosk. When we heard that a house adjacent to the Museum, on the street’s corner, was for sale, all of us had similar thoughts – how wonderful it would be if the Museum could expand its area!
There are four permanent workers in the Museum: Daniel Entin, the Director; Aida Tulskaya; Gvido Trepsha and Natalya Fomina. The group of co-workers is small but stable and harmonious. There are many volunteers – helpers who come according to their possibilities. Just during our visit they were training a girl who came to the United States from Baghdad. We also met Jean Fletcher, a very nice, extremely humble Canadian woman, who comes regularly from Montreal and stays for a long time, 4-6 months, helping the Museum.
One can tell a lot about how the Museum’s staff is working and how much they are doing: they not only deal with the visitors, but with the publishing work, distributing the books of the Teaching, translated into different languages; they conduct researches, systematize and digitize the archive materials and build the web sites. The Museum’s correspondence is of world-wide scale, and requires that they must not only answer but also offer help to people in some way, clarify things. Some people are interested in the Agni Yoga Teaching, some in the Roerich paintings, and these two topics are not necessarily connected with each other. Letters are coming from such places that it is difficult to imagine – Natalya Fomina once said: “Recently Daniel sent an answer to some jungle!”. And it is not an exaggeration. We heard more than once what we already read before: “The Museum follows the principle stated by the Roerichs – not to thrust on people the Teaching of the Leaving Ethics, never to propagandize it. Helena Ivanovna’s rule, expressed in the Teaching, was to publish a book and ‘put it on the crossroad’, leave it and never talk about Agni Yoga until asked a question about it.” (Aida Tulskaya, referring to Letters to America, Vol.3)
More than 150 works by Nicholas Roerich are now exhibited in the Museum. To mention only the most famous: “The Mother of the World”, “Holy Sophia – the Wisdom of the Almighty”, “Drops of Life”, “Madonna Oriflamma”, “The Last Angel”, “The Star of the Morning”, “Panteleimon the Healer”, “From Beyond”, “Padma Sambhava”, “The Prophet Mahomet”, “The Star of the Hero”… Here are also the most famous portraits of Nicholas Roerich and his wife Helena Roerich painted by their son Svyatoslav.
When we are asked what we felt seeing so many Roerich paintings (and what paintings!) – it’s very difficult to find an answer. It’s impossible to convey in words the impression left by the Museum’s halls filled with priceless masterpieces. As far as time allowed, we passed from one painting to another, trying to memorize the shades of the colors, pondering upon our feelings… Besides the paintings, the Museum’s collection contains many things that the Roerichs brought from their expeditions, and also sent from their Kullu home when the family was applying to return to their motherland.
Admission is free to everyone, to visit the Museum and to attend all of its events. Daniel explained it in a very simple way: “We want that people with all kinds of resources – rich or poor – could see the works of Roerich”. The visitors move freely through the halls, sit on the chairs, or right on the stairs, if the seats are all occupied. Some people write something, some just contemplate, some make use of a provided computer to browse through the digitized materials. No one is hurried. The atmosphere is so tranquil that even children coming with their parents behave in a calm and quiet way.
In a hall on the first floor there is old Steinway – Sina Fosdick’s piano, from the 1920s. The care taken to preserve it is obvious; a specialist mounted on it an expensive automated humidifying system. And still, it’s not just a Museum exhibit – the piano is regularly used: the Museum organizes weekly concerts. We attended one of them. In the program were piano works by Mozart, Bach, Liszt, and Shostakovich. The pianist was Renana Gutman, winner of the main prizes of Ferencz Liszt Competition in Los Angeles, Keyboard Instruments Festival in New York and many others. Her performance left a deep impression; not often can one hear a pianist of such a high level.
There’s a certain circle of people who come to the concerts regularly. One can hear Russian spoken, since many are immigrants from Russia. A man sitting next to us was surprised when he learned that we were at the museum for the first time: “How could that be – Russians, and don’t know this place!”
We came to the Museum in the morning, long before its opening, and left in the evening. The Museum’s staff appreciated our desire to stay as long as possible in the halls among the paintings dear to our hearts. We were told: “Don’t worry, feel yourself at home”. Being extremely busy, they put aside all their affairs to talk with us, to answer explicitly to our questions. “You are also a part of my work,” answered Daniel when we expressed our concern about taking so much of his time. “And I answer my emails at night, after you leave”. And while Daniel was protected somewhat because talking to him required an interpreter, which slowed down the talking, the rest of co-workers, all of whom were Russian-speaking, were in a more difficult situation. Feeling that the time available to sit and talk to them was insufficient, we chased after them with a voice recorder. This especially concerned Gvido, who is conducting great research work correcting Roerich paintings’ names, religiously tracing all the stages of changing the names given by Nicholas Roerich himself. The world-famous auction houses, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, consult him not only with questions concerning paintings’ names but also dates, provenance, and other details – everything that is required to provide a full description of every painting. This work is still not finished – Gvido told us that it will take about two years. He told us how the famous painting “The Treasure of the Angels” was found and what path it followed before Mstislav Rostropovich bought it at an auction. He told us also that Louis Horch proposed to the Tretyakov Gallery that they buy his collection of Roerich paintings, and sent there a catalogue of the paintings in his possession. (After Sina Fosdick heard about this, she wrote to Svetoslav Roerich, and he informed the Ministry of Culture, warning them that these were considered to be stolen paintings. The purchase was cancelled. ) Gvido was worried about instances of fake Roerich paintings appearing increasingly often on the market as the prices of Roerich paintings grow so much.
Until the present time, the Museum continues to receive Roerich paintings. We were shown several works, presented quite recently; that were not yet put into frames.
One of the tasks of our trip was to collect materials about Sina Fosdick, who was depicted by Nicholas Roerich, as a result of their 20-year cooperation, as follows: “She is a truly faithful guardian. Where others step back, faced by the worldly waves, she works without rest, building new useful hearths. In spite of the many counteracting forces” (Diary Leaves).
Of course no one in America can know more about Sina Fosdick and tell about her better than Daniel Entin, to whom she herself entrusted the care of the Museum. “I decided once and for all time that I had came here to help her”, – Daniel told us. Talking about Sina Fosdick, he always stressed her main qualities – absolute faithfulness to her Teachers and an uncompromising stand to everything connected with the cause that she served. And she demanded the same of her co-workers.
Sina herself used to take the visitors through the Museum’s halls, explaining the meaning of the paintings. To our question as to whether Sina left to him some instructions regarding the Museum’s activities, Daniel answered: “There was only one request she made: that I should promise to take care of our friends in Russia”. We also learned from him that she didn’t want her ashes to be preserved after her death, she wanted her ashes to be dispersed in the Museum’s garden, and that was done. Upon our departure to Russia we took a handful of the garden’s earth, sending our best thoughts from all of us – those of us here and those friends who remained in Novosibirsk – to this unbending warrior, who struggled for the Cause of her Teachers to the end, and put so much effort in the re-creation of the Museum.
In New York we planned to meet with the Kachanovs, immigrants from Novosibirsk, living in America since 1981. Nikolay and Tamara – both musicians by education; at present Tamara works as an administrator in Columbia University, and Nikolay is conductor of the Russian Chamber choir, of which Tamara is a performing member. They have an active and successful concert schedule. When we met, Nikolay told us that immediately after coming to America, they came to the Roerich Museum and said to Sina that they were followers of the Agni Yoga Teaching. “Of course you understand,” said Nikolay, “that we expected to see some appropriately positive reaction. But what we faced then was difficult to understand at the time. Sinaida Grigoryevna didn’t show any evident interest, and just said, “You study – well, that’s good.”. In spite of this seeming rebuff they continued to come to the Museum. After some time they with great surprise received by post an invitation to become members of the Agni Yoga Society, signed by the director, that is, by Sina Fosdick. Later, when they asked her why they were first met so coldly, they heard in answer that she had to test how strong was their desire to approach the Museum’s activities and hence to the understanding of the Teaching. From that time their relationships with Sina Fosdick became quite different.
We asked Nikolay, “Was there among the Roerich paintings one that Sinaida Grigoryevna distinguished in some way?” He burst out with the answer, “Yes, there was!” He stood up swiftly and went to the painting called “Beliy and Gorniy”, White and Heavenly. “ Sinaida Grigoryevna used to stand in front of this painting, thinking of something. She saw in it something special… But she never talked about it”, he added after a pause.
Many people know that Svyatoslav Roerich studied in this university. But in our case we were interested in it not only for this reason. Departing to America, we planned to visit this university as we knew that its Bakhmetyev Archive, part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts department of Butler Library, for many decades was collecting for preservation the private archives of Russian immigrants, and now there are a number of collections in which manuscripts related to the Roerichs are stored. Among them are the archives of Vladimir Feofilovich Zeeler, Michail Alexandrovich Taube, who was a close relative of the Roerich family, and others.
Columbia University is a well-planned complex of buildings with different purposes, connected with each other by neat pavements and roads. There are many grassy areas, with beautiful fountains.
Approaching the Butler library, we noticed a special bin on the street where the students can return books they have borrowed and read. Such a way to return books was amazing for us – how is that possible? We passed through the library halls where ancient folios are on the shelves, openly available. And right there sit the students, deep in their reading. Often in America we were surprised by the level of trust shown everywhere to the ordinary people.
The time needed for us, foreigners, to receive a pass into the Rare Books and Manuscripts department consisted of the few minutes needed to fill out a simple form indicating where were we from, what was our address and phone number. After a photocopy of our passports was made, they explained to us how to write a request to get the materials we needed. At this point the formalities ended. Everything we were going to use was provided for free. The archive keeper even asked us to forgive the delay in delivering requested documents, because the students who usually do this work were at that moment absent for some reason.
The department’s reading hall is equipped with everything necessary to make one’s work there pleasant and easy: props for documents, special cords with heavy filling to keep sheets separate and fixed, individual electric outlets for laptops, and so on. The attentive staff offers help without being asked whenever they see someone experiencing some difficulty.
So, we received the originals of Nicholas Roerich’s letters written by him in different years. Many of the letters addressed to M.A.Taube and to others were connected with the Banner of Peace Conference in Bruges. We kept in our hand the letter addressed to Metropolitan of Kherson and Odessa Platon, who was more than a decade the Head of American Orthodox Church. The letter is typed on a special paper embossed with the family coat of arms of the Roerichs. Inspecting the folders, we saw pictures, photographs, various documents… We made copies of everything that was of interest to us.
When the work was finished, we came out to the university courtyard and thought with regret, how much time will be needed to implement in Russian educational institutions all the good things we saw here…
THE FIRST ROERICH MUSEUM
We visited the building of the former Roerich Museum on Riverside Drive – in the place where in the 1930s took place the most important drama in the history of Roerich’s institutions in America. The present Nicholas Roerich Museum is situated quite near this building.
The first Roerich Museum was established in a three-storey house at the address 310 Riverside drive in Manhattan, the island where is situated the central part of New York City. The official opening of the Museum was on the 24th of March, 1924. At the time it was the only museum in America dedicated to the work of a single artist. Soon afterwards this mansion was demolished, and in its place in 1929 was built a 29-storey skyscraper, called Master Building, where on the first three floors were situated all the Roerich Institutions, including the Museum, and on all the other floors were apartments for rent to students, teachers, and anyone who wanted to be part of a cultural community.
About the tragedy of the Roerich movement in the middle of the 30s there is enough evidence. Two months after signing the Roerich Pact in the White House, when the activities of the Roerich Institutions seemed to be at a peak of success, Louis Horch, who had concentrated in his hands all the financial aspects of the Museum’s activities, declared his disappointment in Roerich and undertook open measures to seize the Museum.
As wrote Sinaida Fosdick, “The court cases lasted for several years… In April, 1938, Horch secretly took out from the Museum, during the night, all 1006 paintings of Roerich, all valuable art pieces, books and other editions published during these years, as well as important materials and archives. In the end of the 1940 the court pronounced its judgment, unprecedented in its cynicism, in Horch’s favor, though both the Museum and the paintings were presented as a gift to American nation, and this was widely discussed in the press at that time, and in the Museum’s publications, and in a special letter to the President of the United States. The directors who were struggling to defend the Museum and Roerich’s work managed to save and take out some archives and documents. It was impossible to stay any longer in the skyscraper building, and the co-workers left it”.
We talked with Daniel Entin about the fate of the paintings taken off the Museum’s walls by Horch in April, 1938. He told us that Horch gradually sold the paintings. He stored them in a separate room and hired someone to manage the sales. Conditions were very convenient: if a buyer couldn’t pay the whole sum at once, he could buy in instalments. Helena Ivanovna Roerich even advised American followers of the Teaching to buy paintings from Horch “to save them” from his hands. A number of paintings were given by Horch to American universities to reduce his taxes. In such a way the painting “The Treasure of the Angels” and one hundred others were given to Brandeis University. The paintings there were not estimated at their true worth, at best they hung in the corridors and in offices, at worst were stored in a basement.
In 1940 in the article “America” Nicholas Roerich wrote: “Really, we can see in history examples when during wars were demolished libraries, museums, and all kinds of cultural monuments, but we have never seen that a thousand of one master’s paintings were thrown into a dungeon and people keep silence.
A thousand paintings are the fruit of many years’ labor. There’s a saying that one ounce of brain weighs more than a ton of brute muscle force. But how many ounces of creative work must have been spent to create a thousand artistic images! Really these are many years of labor, unrecoverable! Bragdon writes that people are terrified, but they express it in whispers, and when meeting the gangsters they smile at them in public… Hard is the way of evolution!”
So many bitter lines were written by Nicholas and Helena Roerich about the lack of proper public protest, which could have prevented such a court’s decision! A number of private pleas for the Museum’s protection, though there were, as Sina said, lots of them, didn’t influence the situation.
In the materials that we brought from New York there’s a testimony by a student of the United Arts Institute Estel Eisner: “The great loss suffered by the public as a result of the desecration of the Roerich Museum and its school is indescribable. As a student of the Master Institute of United Arts School of the Roerich Museum, I feel justified in registering my protest and indignation against an act that deprived countless students of their school quarters which housed an abundance of works of culture, beauty and creative genius. Moreover, the renowned works of Professor Nicholas Roerich, founder of our institution, which were a constant source of inspiration to artists and students throughout the country, have been stripped from the walls of the museum.”
“The untiring efforts and patient guidance of the faculty and the dean and director, Maurice and Sina Lichtmann, helped to open new fascinating worlds of creative achievement to hundreds of us. In the youth they instilled an undying spirit of hope and a fuller appreciation and knowledge of the many branches of art. Blind students were delivered from a world of darkness and solitude to a friendly atmosphere, where they found innumerable opportunities for self-expression.
“I firmly believe that the ruthless destruction of works of art, which is so prevalent in war-ridden countries today, should tempt us to promote, rather than retard, the establishment of both public and private cultural institutions; for peace can only reign where culture resides.”
“The Bronx. 20th of August, 1938.”
When he heard about a new accusation of wrongdoing from the Horches, Roerich wrote: “It’s good indeed that vile slander is met with disdain and laughter, but there’s a French saying: ‘Slander, slander, something will persist’”. We had a chance to see evidence supporting this idea when, working in the Columbia University archive we heard a courteous phrase addressed to us by a staff member, “I don’t want to dissuade you from anything, but you know, there are periodicals of that time… This case had a large press… and the papers wrote that Roerich.…” And this was followed by an opinion based on the periodicals of that time, concerning the court case. We talked a lot with this archivist, seeing her sincere interest; not trying to persuade her (this would be a hopeless endeavor) but proposing to her that she take into account other materials. This is really important, that people coming to Columbia University’s archives should get full information on this most important question, especially taking into account the rapidly growing interest in Nicholas Roerich’s person and work.
We had a tour inside the skyscraper. Our guide was Mildred Speiser, a resident of the building and an enthusiastic historian, collecting all materials about it. We were told by Mildred that the sign “Roerich Museum” was taken down from the front of the building at least forty years ago, after Horch won the court cases. It was replaced with “Riverside Museum”. The corner stone, in which the sacred items were installed, is intact. No blasphemous hand dared to touch this place.
The building has in fact 28 floors, as in the United States the 12th floor is followed by the 14th. There was never any gas in the building, only electricity – very modern at the time. The system of corridors is quite similar to those in our hotel-like houses, and the common corridors are quite narrow. We visited one of the apartments. On the door’s knob can be seen the Museum’s symbol.
On the uppermost floor there is only a single room. During the Museum’s existence it had a special purpose, for the meetings of the inner circle. The elevator, now as in that time, reaches only the 25th floor, then one must go up on foot. By the staircase which grew more and more narrow, we approached the door of that room, of which Sinaida Grigoryevna told, describing the last day of Nicholas and George Roerichs’ stay in New York: “By 5 o’clock [NR] went with us on the very last floor into our Communication room”. Here in front of the Master’s portrait he gave the co-workers “strongest instructions”, as wrote Sinaida Grigoryevna. Nicholas Roerich never returned to America thereafter.
After Horch’s defection cultural activities continued in the Master Building for more than a decade. There were various art classes; and two art galleries were open on the first floor. But the spirit had already left this place, and all the activities gradually and inevitably came to end. In the 60s the building was turned into an ordinary cooperative apartment building. However, the sacred flame of Culture and service to Light could not be stifled – it was taken up by the new Museum on the 107th street.
A BIT ABOUT NEW YORK
In 1921, in the very beginning of his activities in America, Nicholas Roerich said: “Often we heard how America was called a nation of utter materialists. But everyone finds whatever one seeks. Everyone perceives the world according to the level of one’s thinking”.
After fourteen years he mentioned New York again: “If people would notice all the wonderful things, much more various precious things would be discovered on Earth by this time … Someone can see one aspect of New York, but others can see some very unattractive streets. These two contradicting aspects are present everywhere”.
More than seventy years have passed since Roerich was here. Now we see a New York of the 21st century. We didn’t have a chance to survey the city, which is so different from anything we have seen before. On the one hand, it wasn’t like the New York of the 70s, described in our literature as a city full of dangers, where the “air itself is imbued with bacilli of fear and jealousy”. On the other hand, we didn’t feel the exaltation felt by our Russian emigrants in the 90-s who highly appreciated “the indescribable elegance” of New York’s skyscrapers.
We saw a very populous city, in which, in spite of strong winds, there’s no dust. However many cars are on the streets, and the road system is very sophisticated and convenient. Among the stone buildings there are almost no trees, but those that are there are cared for. Animals feel here absolutely safe. There is great variety of different birds.
A healthy way of life is supported on the government level. On weekends crowds of people of all ages jog on the special pavements in the Central Park. The struggle against smoking is on very wide scale. Even taxi passengers see films showing deformed lungs of the smokers and other not less impressive images.
Public transport is suited for use by the people with restricted abilities: buses “kneel” to help wheel-chairs or aged passengers to enter without any difficulties. We observed as children ran out of a school bus and then a woman wheeled out a wheel-chair for a dark-skinned boy; laughingly talking with each other, they entered the school yard. It was in Spanish Harlem, one of the poor areas of New York.
Natalya Fomina took us to the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. While driving there, she told us much about the specifics of life in America. We also made a tour to the Statue of Liberty, which embodies the supreme idea that is laid into the foundation of the American system. Thousands of tourists from all over the world visit Liberty Island, where the statue is located; special tourist ships take people there.
* * *
And so we returned to Novosibirsk, overflowing not only with impressions from the warm friendly meetings, open and generous communication, with the people we met – we also brought with us gifts to our Museum: large amounts of Russian and English editions published in America, France, Germany, and Latvia during the Roerichs’ life, beginning in 1921. There are Roerichs works, monographs, articles, and booklets, and first editions of the Agni Yoga books. We were presented in the Museum with the sign “Double Dorje”. This sign was made on the special order for the Roerichs and was designed to honor the most important friends of the New York Roerich Museum – such as for example Albert Einstein.
One more gift – a Dze bead, as these findings are called in Tibet, wherefrom they were brought by the Roerichs. Nicholas Roerich tells about Dze beads in his book “Heart of Asia”. Until the present time scientists didn’t come to a conclusion about their origin and the material they are made from. There are nice legends about these beads. One of them was told to us by Aida Tulskaya. “In the ancient times in Tibet, in the heavenly abode, except gods there were living also some winged creatures of divine nature. Sometimes they descended at nights to the people and danced in a ring around the stupas. People trying to catch them threw clods of earth onto them, and these heavenly creatures lost their purity from the contact with dirt, fell upon the earth and turned into the Dze beads. As a memory about their origin, each bead has ‘eyes’. A Dze bead, when it is found or received as a gift, brings luck and happiness”.
Many items which belonged to Sinaida Grigoryevna were given to the Novosibirsk Roerich Museum by the Kachanovs. Among the gifts – her personal Russian-language typewriter, on which Agni Yoga texts had been typed; an Indian painting which still awaits its ascription; Sina’s knick-knackery, and her coat with a fur lining.
In conclusion we want to express one more time our deep appreciation to the Director of New York Roerich Museum, Daniel Entin, and all of his co-workers for their amazingly warm hospitality, for generous readiness to tell us about everything that was of interest for us, to help us in whatever difficulties we experienced. Many things became clearer and some our preconceptions had to be corrected. Along with the gifts we brought from across the ocean to Siberia something which can’t be measured neither in miles of the voyage, nor in kilograms of weight. We perceived how many are the things that unite us and that not only can, but must serve our common purposes. We hope that cooperation of our two Museums situated on different continents will be not only firm but also fruitful.
Nicholas Roerich more than once told about necessity of uniting all “the active co-workers”: “for the broad tillage the circle of friends must be broadened. Suspicion and distrust whisper into the shy ear: ‘How can one not be mistaken? And why to seek something new, unknown, when one can stay in a cozy circle of friends. Thus one could preserve cordiality and not be afraid to crash on the reefs of misunderstanding.’ Very sly soothings! We’d rather broaden our tillage to the next borders…”
Sina Fosdick, in her voice message to Nataliya Spirina, called the New York Roerich Museum a cultural link between our two countries. Now we must strengthen the bridge of cooperation between the two Museums. This is the commandment left to us by our Earthly Teachers.