Our Mission

The Illinois Patrons of The Arts in the Vatican Museums is a non-profit organization that raises funds for the preservation, care, exhibition, and restoration of art in the Vatican Museums.

Who we are:

The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums is a 501c (3) interfaith group that is committed to the restoration, preservation and increase in artistic patrimony of the collections and buildings of the Vatican Museums, while furthering the understanding and knowledge of its members of these works of art through lectures, meetings and visits to the Vatican.

The Patrons help the Vatican Museums in:

  • Spreading knowledge of the specific cultural and spiritual goals of the Vatican Museums as well as the various Vatican offices and basilicas in Rome and the collections they hold
  • Supporting the multiple activities of the Vatican Museums and promoting restoration of other works of art for the Holy See under Museum Direction authority
  • Promoting the acquisition of new works which complement the existing collections
  • Supporting future expansions of the Museums

The Patrons are a unique group of people supporting the preservation and perpetuation of the vast and unique collection of art contained in the Vatican Museums. We provide the main source of revenue for the Vatican Museums’ art restoration projects which include Catholic and sacred art from all traditions as a method to reach out to thousands of visitors that come each day. We also fund various artistic and educational experiences for children and the visually and hearing impaired, marking the first of their kind in Italy.

The Vatican Museums are the main generator of funds for the City State as all papal masses and audiences are free of admission and entrance into St. Peter’s Basilica is gratis. Most people are unaware that revenue from the ticket sales are only able to cover basic maintenance, insurance, security and staff leaving little money for restoration or modernization.

That’s where the Patrons have played a valuable and unique role. Patrons have raised the funds to restore some of the most famous artistic treasures, such as:

  • The Pauline Chapel
  • The Raphael Rooms
  • The Borgia Apartments
  • Frescoes on the lateral walls of the Sistine Chapel

All Patrons are offered to stroll through the Vatican Gardens, tour the Sistine Chapel privately, and tour the museum restoration laboratories buried deep within Vatican City.

Our History

Founded in 1983 after a major exhibition from the Vatican toured The Metropolitan (New York), the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum (San Francisco) and The Art Institute of Chicago, a group of philanthropists recognized the unique opportunity to participate in art conservation. Desiring to address the preservation of the artwork and historic buildings of the Vatican, the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums was launched worldwide.

Today, the Patrons are an international reality with chapters in North American and European countries. They support the preservation and conservation efforts of the Museums. While the themes in our priceless collection may be eternal, the paintings, sculptures, frescoes, tapestries and historic buildings are sensitive to the ravages of time.

It is often the unseen and unnoticed work of the museum which must continue if the unique spiritual and cultural mission of the Vatican Museums is to flourish.

For more information on international activities of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, visit Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums | PAVM (patronsvaticanmuseums.org)

Gallery: Some of Our Restorations

Art, and religious art in particular, can bring a message of mercy, compassion, and encouragement not only to believers, but also to those who doubt, who feel lost, unsure, or possibly alone. For art always speaks to the soul. It has the power to foster a recognition of our common humanity, to build bridges between cultures and peoples, and to create that sense of solidarity so greatly needed in our sadly divided and war-torn world. Art refreshes the human spirit, just as water replenishes the dry and parched desert.

Pope Francis