The mission of the Nicholas Roerich Museum is essentially a narrow one: to make available to the public the full range of Roerich’s accomplishments. These, however, are not narrow; they cover the realms of art, science, spirituality, peacemaking, and more. Because Roerich’s activities ranged widely, so do the Museum’s.
Nicholas Roerich is known first and foremost as a Russian-born artist. His paintings, of which there are thousands around the world, explore the mythic origins, the natural beauty, and the spiritual strivings of humanity and of the world. The Museum houses approximately two hundred of these works, and keeps most of them permanently on display, for visitors who come from around the world. Indeed, for many of these visitors, the Museum is a destination of great importance; the paintings speak to them of their own inner yearnings and possible fulfillment. For them, Roerich's paintings are a kind of teaching—about spiritual development, about culture and its role in human life, and about opportunities for the achievement of peace in a fractious world.
The Museum also keeps in print a number of books by and about Roerich and his life and work, and a substantial stock of postcards and reproductions of his paintings. These too are seen by many as more than just prints; they are hung in homes with a degree of appreciation that is not often given to such things.
In addition to these functions, the Museum also maintains an active schedule of cultural activities. It was Roerich's fervent belief that the role of cultural development in the peace and evolution of the world is fundamental, and that it is therefore the responsibility of those who work in creative and cultural fields to strive always for that peace and evolution, and for those goals to be the chief impulses guiding their creative work. Information about these ideas is always available.
To assist these efforts in some small way, the Museum provides a place for young musicians to perform for audiences, all on a voluntary and free basis. Much of the audience is made up of those who ordinarily would not be able to afford attendance at concerts in major halls.
The Museum sustains an ongoing effort to spread public awareness of the intermingled roles of peace and culture, and the ways in which each sustains the other. Information and materials about The Roerich Pact and the Banner of Peace are always available. Throughout this century of wars and national struggles, the yearning of the public for ways of achieving peace has been great; the ideas of the Pact and the Banner provide a welcome answer to those yearnings.
As Roerich's ideas become better-known around the world, attendance at the Museum grows, and requests for information and materials about him and his art and social achievements increase. As these demands grow, the Museum and its activities grow, with optimism, during this new century.