PRINTER'S NO. 1244
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
874
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY PHILLIPS-HILL AND BROWNE, OCTOBER 8, 2019
REFERRED TO STATE GOVERNMENT, OCTOBER 8, 2019
AN ACT
Amending Title 37 (Historical and Museums) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, providing for donated or abandoned
cultural property.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Title 37 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes is amended by adding a chapter to read:
CHAPTER 11
DONATED OR ABANDONED CULTURAL PROPERTY
Subchapter
A. Preliminary Provisions
B. Loan of Property
C. Procedures
D. Miscellaneous Provisions
SUBCHAPTER A
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS
Sec.
1101. Scope of chapter.
1102. Purposes of chapter.
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1103. Definitions.
§ 1101. Scope of chapter.
This chapter relates to donated or abandoned cultural
property.
§ 1102. Purposes of chapter.
The purposes of this chapter are to:
(1) Establish procedures for vesting in a museum
ownership of abandoned, undocumented or unsolicited property
in the possession of the museum.
(2) Establish procedures to terminate loans of property
to a museum.
(3) Allow a museum to conserve or dispose of loaned,
undocumented or unsolicited property under certain
conditions.
§ 1103. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Lender." A person whose name appears on the records of a
museum as the person legally entitled to, or claiming to be
legally entitled to, property held by the museum or, if the
person is deceased, the legal heirs of the person.
"Loan." As follows:
(1) A deposit of property with a museum in which any of
the following occurs:
(i) Title to the deposit is not transferred to the
museum.
(ii) The loan agreement for the deposit does not
include a provision that the museum shall acquire title
at some time after the deposit is made.
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(iii) The loan agreement for the deposit includes an
option for the museum to acquire title at some time after
the deposit is made.
(2) The term does not include a consignment of property
for sale or property donated to a museum.
"Museum." As follows:
(1) A nonprofit or public institution in this
Commonwealth that:
(i) is organized for educational, scientific,
historic or aesthetic purposes; and
(ii) collects, owns, borrows, cares for, studies,
archives or exhibits property as a stated purpose in its
charter.
(2) The term includes, but is not limited to, a
historical society, park, historic site, historic monument,
archive or library.
(3) The term does not include the State Museum or an
entity under the auspices of the commission.
"Property." A tangible object that:
(1) is in the possession of and under the care of a
museum; and
(2) has intrinsic educational, scientific, historical,
artistic, aesthetic or cultural value.
"Unsolicited donation." Property that is:
(1) left at a museum as property to be controlled by the
museum;
(2) from an unknown source; and
(3) reasonably assumed to have been intended as a gift
to the museum.
SUBCHAPTER B
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LOAN OF PROPERTY
Sec.
1111. Loan of property subject to loan agreement.
1112. Loan of property with no loan agreement.
§ 1111. Loan of property subject to loan agreement.
(a) Deemed donation.--Property on loan to a museum that is
subject to a loan agreement shall be deemed to be donated to the
museum if all of the following apply:
(1) No claim of ownership is made or action filed to
recover the property by the owner after termination or
expiration of the loan.
(2) The museum has given notice, in accordance with
section 1122 (relating to notice to lender), and no claim of
ownership is made or action to recover the property is filed
within 90 days after the publication of the second notice
under section 1122.
(b) Termination of loan made for indefinite term.--A museum
may terminate a loan of property to the museum, which was made
for an indefinite term, if the property has been in the
possession of the museum for at least five years. The following
apply:
(1) Property on loan to the museum and whose loan
agreement indicates that the property is on permanent loan to
the museum shall be considered loaned for an indefinite term
for purposes of this subsection.
(2) The loan of property that has been terminated under
this subsection shall be deemed donated to the museum.
(c) Termination of loan made for specified term.--A museum
may terminate a loan of property to the museum, which was made
for a specified term, after the expiration of the specified
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term, if the museum provides notice of the termination in
accordance with section 1122. The property for a loan of
property that has been terminated under this subsection shall be
deemed donated to the museum.
(d) Notice by owner of loaned property.--The owner of
property loaned to a museum shall provide the museum with
written notice of the following:
(1) Any change of the address of the owner.
(2) Any designated agent of the owner.
(3) The address of any designated agent.
(4) The name and address of any new owner of the
property if there is a change in the ownership of the
property loaned to the museum.
(e) Notice by museum.--A museum accepting a loan of property
shall provide the owner of the property a written copy of the
provisions of this chapter.
§ 1112. Loan of property with no loan agreement.
(a) Deemed abandonment.--Property in the possession of a
museum that is not subject to a loan agreement shall be deemed
to be abandoned if all of the following apply:
(1) The property is unclaimed and has been in the
possession of the museum as unclaimed property for at least
five years.
(2) The museum has given notice, in accordance with the
provisions of section 1122 (relating to notice to lender),
and no claim of ownership is made or action to recover the
property is filed within 60 days after the publication of the
second notice under section 1122.
(b) Effect of abandonment.--Property that is deemed
abandoned under this section and in the possession of a museum
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shall become the property of the museum.
(c) Applicability.--This section shall not apply to property
that:
(1) is reported as stolen to a law enforcement agency,
insurer or the art loss register, or a successor organization
having similar purposes, no later than three years following
the theft or discovery of the theft; or
(2) was created before 1945 and changed hands due to
theft, seizure, confiscation, forced sale or other
involuntary means in Europe during the Nazi era between 1933
and 1945.
SUBCHAPTER C
PROCEDURES
Sec.
1121. Records.
1122. Notice to lender.
1123. Return or disposition of property.
1124. Conservation or protective measures.
1125. Unsolicited donations.
§ 1121. Records.
(a) Maintenance of records.--Each museum shall maintain a
record of all property on loan to the museum, including the
following, if known:
(1) The name and address of the lender.
(2) The dates that the property is to be on loan to the
museum.
(3) A copy of the loan agreement for the property.
(b) Copy of records.--Each museum shall provide a copy of
the applicable record and the loan agreement to the lender of
property at the time that the lender makes the loan of property
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to the museum.
(c) Update of records.--If a museum is notified of a change
in ownership of property on loan to the museum, the museum
shall:
(1) Create a new record for the property.
(2) Update the existing loan agreement.
(3) Provide a written copy of the new record and updated
loan agreement to the new owner of the property.
(d) Museum ownership.--If a museum becomes the owner of
property on loan to the museum, the museum shall maintain a
record of the ownership.
§ 1122. Notice to lender.
(a) Search and notice to known lender.--Prior to a museum
accepting donated property under section 1111 (relating to loan
of property subject to loan agreement) or taking ownership of
abandoned property under section 1112 (relating to loan of
property with no loan agreement), the museum shall make a
reasonable good faith effort to find the address of the lender
and provide notice that the museum may become the owner of the
property. The notice shall be sent by certified mail, return
receipt requested, to the address of the lender on record with
the museum.
(b) Notice procedures for unfound lender.--If a museum does
not have an address on record for the lender of the property, or
the museum does not receive written proof of receipt of the
mailed notice within 30 days after the date the notice was
mailed under subsection (a), the museum shall publish a notice,
at least once each week for two consecutive weeks, in a media of
wide utilization in the municipality in which the museum is
located and the municipality of the lender on record with the
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museum, if available. The published notice shall contain all of
the following:
(1) A brief and general description of the unclaimed
property.
(2) The name and address of the lender on record with
the museum.
(3) A request that all persons who may have any
knowledge of the whereabouts of the lender provide written
notice to the museum.
(4) A statement that if no claim of ownership is made or
action to recover the property is filed on or before 60 days
after publication of the second notice, the property shall be
deemed donated or abandoned and shall become the property of
the museum.
(c) Location of museum defined.--For purposes of this
section:
(1) If the loan of property was made to a branch of a
museum, the museum shall be deemed to be located in the
municipality in which the branch is located.
(2) If paragraph (1) does not apply, the museum shall be
deemed to be located in the municipality in which the museum
has its principal place of business.
§ 1123. Return or disposition of property.
(a) Notice from lender.--If a museum receives a written
claim of ownership for property for which notice of donation or
abandonment was made under section 1122 (relating to notice to
lender) from the lender, or the designated agent of the lender,
the museum shall return the property to the lender or carry out
the disposition of the property as the lender requests, not
later than 60 days after receipt of the written claim of
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ownership. The following apply:
(1) The lender shall advise the museum in writing as to
the disposition of the property or how the property is to be
returned to the lender.
(2) Any costs incurred as a result of returning the
property or the disposition of the property shall be the
responsibility of the lender, unless the lender and the
museum have mutually agreed to alternate arrangements.
(b) Notice from person other than lender.--If a museum
receives a written claim of ownership for property for which
notice of donation or abandonment was made under section 1122
from a person other than the lender on record with the museum,
the museum shall determine if the ownership claim is valid, not
later than 60 days after receipt of the written claim of
ownership. The following apply:
(1) A claimant shall submit proof of ownership to the
museum with the written claim of ownership.
(2) If more than one person submits a written claim of
ownership, the museum may delay its determination of
ownership until the competing claims are resolved by
agreement or legal action.
(3) If the museum determines that the written claim of
ownership is valid or if the competing claims are resolved by
agreement or judicial action, the museum shall return the
property to the claimant submitting the valid claim of
ownership or dispose of the property as the valid claimant
requests.
(4) Any costs incurred as a result of returning the
property or the disposition of the property shall be the
responsibility of the valid claimant unless the valid
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claimant and the museum have mutually agreed to alternate
arrangements.
(c) Claim of ownership and title to property.--
(1) If no written claim of ownership is presented to the
museum within 60 days after the publication of the second
notice under section 1122, the property shall be deemed
donated or abandoned and title to the property shall vest in
the museum.
(2) If a valid claim of ownership for the property is
made after title to the property has vested in the museum
under this subsection and the museum holds title to the
property, the museum shall return the property to the owner
of the property and the title of the property shall revert to
the owner.
(d) Title to property generally.--A person who purchases or
otherwise acquires property from a museum that obtained the
property by donation or abandonment under this section or
section 1111 (relating to loan of property subject to loan
agreement) or 1112 (relating to loan of property with no loan
agreement) shall acquire good title to the property.
§ 1124. Conservation or protective measures.
(a) Conditions required to apply measures.--A museum may
apply conservation or protective measures to property on loan to
the museum without the permission of the lender or formal notice
to the lender, unless the written loan agreement for the
property provides otherwise, if:
(1) Action is required to:
(i) protect the property or other property in the
possession of the museum; or
(ii) protect the health and safety of the public or
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museum staff because the property is a hazard.
(2) Any of the following applies:
(i) The museum is unable to contact the lender at
the address on record for the lender within three days
before the time in which the museum determines that
action is necessary.
(ii) The lender does not:
(A) respond or agree to the conservation or
protective measures recommended by the museum; and
(B) terminate the loan and take possession of
the property on or before the third day that the
museum contacts the lender.
(b) Lien on property.--If a museum applies conservation or
protective measures to property on loan to the museum under this
section, or with the agreement of the lender, unless the written
loan agreement for the property provides otherwise, the museum
shall acquire a lien on the property in an amount equal to the
costs incurred by the museum for the conservation or protective
measures taken.
(c) Liability.--A museum shall not be liable for injury to
or loss of property that was on loan to the museum and for which
conservation or protective measures were taken under this
section, if all of the following apply:
(1) The museum had a reasonable belief at the time that
the conservation or protective measures were taken that:
(i) the measures were necessary to protect the
property or other property in the possession of the
museum; or
(ii) the property was a hazard to the health and
safety of the public or museum staff.
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(2) The museum exercised reasonable care in the choice
and application of the conservation and protective measures.
§ 1125. Unsolicited donations.
(a) Acquisition of title generally.--A museum may acquire
title to unsolicited donations found on or delivered to museum
property as provided in this section.
(b) Presumption.--Unsolicited donations are conclusively
presumed to be a gift to the museum if ownership is not claimed
by a person within 90 days after discovery and notice is given
by the museum under this section.
(c) Undocumented property.--Undocumented property found in a
collection of a museum is not an unsolicited donation.
(d) Notice.--
(1) A museum must give notice that the museum is
asserting title to an unsolicited donation.
(2) Notice that the museum is asserting title to the
unsolicited property must include a statement containing
substantially the following information:
"The following property was found at (name of museum)
and is presumed to be a donation to the museum.
The museum hereby asserts title to the following
property: (general description of property). Anyone
claiming ownership or other legal interest in this
property must contact the museum, establish ownership
of the property and make arrangements to collect the
property. If you fail to do so within 60 days of
notice required under 37 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11, you will
have waived any claim to this unsolicited property."
(3) Notice by publication shall be made in accordance
with section 1122 (relating to notice to lender) and shall be
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given at least once each week for two consecutive weeks in a
media of wide utilization in the county in which the museum
is located.
SUBCHAPTER D
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Sec.
1131. Applicability.
1132. Rights and obligations.
1133. Other means of establishing or perfecting title.
§ 1131. Applicability.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to property in
the possession of a museum under the Native American Graves
Protection and Repatriation Act (Public Law 101-601, 104 Stat.
3048).
§ 1132. Rights and obligations.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate the
rights and obligations of a lender, claimant or museum
identified in a written loan agreement.
§ 1133. Other means of establishing or perfecting title.
Nothing in this chapter shall preclude a museum from availing
itself of any other means of establishing or perfecting title to
property in the possession of the museum.
Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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