PRINTER'S NO. 1001
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
822
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY PHILLIPS-HILL, JULY 20, 2021
REFERRED TO STATE GOVERNMENT, JULY 20, 2021
AN ACT
Providing for museum unclaimed loaned property.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section 1. Short title.
Section 2. Legislative findings.
Section 3. Purpose of act.
Section 4. Definitions.
Section 5. Museum obligations to lenders.
Section 6. Lender obligations to museums.
Section 7. Liability.
Section 8. Termination of loans for unclaimed loaned property.
Section 9. Return or disposition of unclaimed loaned property.
Section 10. Title to unclaimed loaned property.
Section 11. Contractual obligations.
Section 12. Effect on other rights.
Section 13. Title to property acquired from museum.
Section 14. Expenses and conservation or protective measures.
Section 15. Effective date.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
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hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Museum
Unclaimed Loaned Property Act.
Section 2. Legislative findings.
The General Assembly finds and declares the following:
(1) The residents of this Commonwealth have an interest
in the growth and maintenance of museum collections and in
the preservation and protection of unclaimed loaned property
of artistic, historic, cultural or scientific value left in
the custody of museums within this Commonwealth.
(2) Loans of property of artistic, historic, cultural or
scientific value are made to museums to further educational
purposes.
(3) When lenders of property for museums fail to stay in
contact, museums must routinely store and care for the loaned
property long after the loan periods have expired or should
reasonably be deemed expired.
(4) Nevertheless, museums have limited rights to the use
and treatment of unclaimed loaned property, all the while
bearing substantial costs related to the storage, record
keeping, climate control, security, periodic inspection,
insurance, general overhead and conservation associated with
the unclaimed loaned property.
(5) It is in the public's interest to:
(i) Encourage museums and the lenders of property
for museums to use due diligence in monitoring the loaned
property.
(ii) Allocate fair responsibilities between museums
and the lenders of property for museums.
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(iii) Resolve expeditiously the issue of title of
unclaimed loaned property left in the custody of museums.
Section 3. Purpose of act.
The purpose of this act is to establish uniform rules to
govern the disposition of museum unclaimed loaned property.
Section 4. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Claimant." An individual, corporation, partnership, trust,
estate or similar organization that files notice of intent to
preserve an interest in loaned property in the custody of a
museum as provided in section 9(b).
"Lender." An individual, corporation, partnership, trust,
estate or similar organization whose name appears on the records
of a museum as the person legally entitled to control loaned
property in the custody of the museum. The term includes a
successor of an original lender.
"Loan." A transaction between a lender and a museum
regarding property of the lender in which the museum maintains
custody of the property.
"Loaned property." Property that is in the possession of a
museum, accompanied by evidence that the lender of the property
intended to retain title to the property and return to take
physical possession of the property in the future.
"Museum." As follows:
(1) A public or private nonprofit agency or institution
that is:
(i) located in this Commonwealth;
(ii) organized on a permanent basis for educational
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or aesthetic purposes; and
(iii) owns or utilizes tangible objects, cares for
tangible objects and exhibits tangible objects to the
public on a regular basis.
(2) The term includes a historical society, park,
historic site, historic monument, archive or library.
"Museum records." Documents that are created or held by a
museum in the regular course of business of the museum.
"Property." A tangible or digital object that is in the
custody of a museum and that has intrinsic historical, artistic,
scientific or cultural value.
"Restricted certified mail." Certified mail that carries on
its face, in a conspicuous place where it will not be
obliterated, the endorsement "deliver to addressee only" and for
which the post office provides the mailer with a return receipt
showing the date of delivery, the place of delivery and the
person to whom delivered.
"Unclaimed loaned property." Property:
(1) that is on loan to a museum; and
(2) whose original lender, or any person acting
legitimately on behalf of the lender, has not contacted the
museum for at least 20 years from the beginning date of the
loan of the property, if the loan of the property was for an
indefinite or undetermined period or for at least five years
after the date upon which the loan of the property for the
definite period expired.
Section 5. Museum obligations to lenders.
(a) Record keeping for new loaned property.--For property
loaned to a museum on or after the effective date of this
section, the museum shall do all of the following at the time of
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the loan:
(1) Make and retain a written record containing at least
all of the following:
(i) The name, address and telephone number of the
lender.
(ii) A description of the loaned property in
sufficient detail for ready identification.
(iii) The beginning date of the loan.
(iv) The expiration date of the loan.
(2) Provide the lender with a signed receipt or loan
agreement containing at least the record specified in
paragraph (1).
(3) Inform the lender of the existence of this act and
provide the lender with a copy of this act upon request of
the lender.
(b) Record keeping for existing loaned property.--Regardless
of the date of the loan of property to a museum, the museum
shall do all of the following:
(1) Update the records of the museum if:
(i) a lender informs the museum of a change of
address or change in ownership of the loaned property; or
(ii) the lender and museum negotiate a change in the
duration of the loan.
(2) Inform the lender of the existence of this act when
renewing or updating the records of an existing loan and
provide the lender with a copy of this act upon request of
the lender.
Section 6. Lender obligations to museums.
(a) Required notices.--Regardless of the date of the loan of
property in the custody of a museum, a lender shall promptly
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notify the museum in writing of the following:
(1) A change of the address or telephone number of the
lender.
(2) The name, address and telephone number of the
successor of the lender.
(3) The name, address and telephone number of the
designated agent of the owner of the loaned property.
(4) A change of the address or telephone number of the
designated agent of the owner of the loaned property.
(5) A change in ownership of the loaned property and the
name, address and telephone number of the new owner of the
loaned property.
(b) Documentation establishing ownership.--A successor of a
lender shall document passage of rights of control to the loaned
property in the custody of the museum.
Section 7. Liability.
(a) Prejudice.--Unless there is evidence of bad faith or
gross negligence, a museum shall not be prejudiced by reason of
any failure to deal with the true owner of loaned property.
(b) Surrender of loaned property.--In a case of disputed
ownership of loaned property, a museum shall not be held liable
for its refusal to surrender loaned property in its possession
except in reliance upon a court order or judgment.
Section 8. Termination of loans for unclaimed loaned property.
(a) Authorization.--A museum may terminate a loan for
unclaimed loaned property in its possession in accordance with
this section.
(b) Search.--A museum shall make a good faith and reasonable
search for the identity and last known address of the lender
from the museum records and other records reasonably available
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to the museum staff.
(c) Notice.--
(1) Following a search under subsection (b):
(i) If the museum identifies the lender and the
lender's last known address, the museum shall give actual
notice to the lender that the loan is terminated in
accordance with paragraph (2).
(ii) If the identity or the last known address of
the lender remains unknown, the museum shall give notice
by publication in accordance with paragraph (3).
(2) Actual notice of termination by a museum of a loan
for unclaimed loaned property shall be provided by a letter
to the lender, which shall be sent by restricted certified
mail to the last known address of the lender and which shall
include the following information:
(i) The date of notice of termination.
(ii) The name of the lender.
(iii) A description of the loaned property in
sufficient detail for ready identification.
(iv) The approximate initiating date of the loan and
termination date, if applicable and known.
(v) The name and address of the designated museum
official to be contacted regarding the loan.
(vi) A statement that within 90 days of the date of
the notice of termination, the lender is required to
remove the loaned property from the museum or contact the
designated museum official to preserve the lender's
interests in the loaned property and that failure to do
so will result in the loss of all rights in the loaned
property in accordance with section 10.
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(3) Notice by publication of termination by a museum of
a loan for unclaimed loaned property shall be provided as
follows:
(i) This paragraph only applies if:
(A) a search under subsection (b) is
unsuccessful and the museum is unable to send actual
notice in accordance with paragraph (2); or
(B) a signed return receipt of a notice sent by
restricted certified mail under paragraph (2) is not
received by the museum within 30 days after the
notice was mailed.
(ii) The museum shall publish the notice of
termination, which includes all the information that is
specified under paragraph (2) and available to the
museum, in a publication of general circulation in the
county of the last known address of the lender, if known,
and the county in which the museum is located. The
following apply:
(A) The notice shall be published at least twice
and at least 60 days apart.
(B) If the loan of property was made to a branch
of the museum, the museum shall be deemed to be
located in the county in which the branch is located.
Section 9. Return or disposition of unclaimed loaned property.
(a) Written claim by lender.--If a museum receives a written
claim of ownership for loaned property for which notice was
provided under section 8(c)(2) or (3), the museum shall return
the loaned property to the lender or carry out the disposition
of the loaned property as the lender requests, not later than 90
days after receipt of the written claim of ownership. The
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following apply:
(1) The lender shall advise the museum in writing as to
the disposition of the loaned property or how the loaned
property is to be returned to the lender.
(2) Any costs incurred as a result of returning the
loaned property or the disposition of the loaned property
shall be the responsibility of the lender, unless the lender
and the museum have mutually agreed to alternate
arrangements.
(b) Written claim by others.--If a museum receives a written
claim of ownership for loaned property for which notice was
provided under section 8(c)(2) or (3) from a person other than
the lender or lender's agent on record with the museum, the
museum shall determine if the ownership claim is valid, not
later than 90 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 legal action, the museum shall return the loaned
property to the claimant submitting the valid claim of
ownership or dispose of the loaned property as the valid
claimant requests.
(4) Any costs incurred as a result of returning the
loaned property or the disposition of the loaned property
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shall be the responsibility of the valid claimant, unless the
valid claimant and the museum have mutually agreed to
alternate arrangements.
Section 10. Title to unclaimed loaned property.
(a) Conditions.--As of the effective date of this section, a
museum acquires title to unclaimed loaned property under any of
the following circumstances:
(1) For loaned property for which a museum provides
actual notice to a lender in accordance with section 8(c)(2)
and a signed receipt is received, if a lender of that loaned
property does not contact the museum within 90 days after the
date notice was received.
(2) For loaned property for which notice by publication
is made in accordance with section 8(c)(3), if a lender or
any person claiming a legal interest in that loaned property
does not contact the museum within 90 days after the date of
the second publication of the notice.
(b) Effect of act.--Nothing in this act 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 11. Contractual obligations.
Notwithstanding the other provisions of this act, a lender
and museum may bind themselves to different loan provisions by
written contract.
Section 12. Effect on other rights.
(a) Escheat.--Property on loan to a museum shall not escheat
to the Commonwealth under Article XIII.1 of the act of April 9,
1929 (P.L.343, No.176), known as The Fiscal Code, or any other
law of this Commonwealth, but shall pass to the museum in
accordance with section 10.
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(b) Federal law.--This act 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).
(c) Stolen property.--This act shall not apply to property
that 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 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.
(d) Other property interests.--Property interests other than
those specifically addressed in this act are not altered by this
act.
Section 13. Title to property acquired from museum.
A museum that acquires title to unclaimed loaned property
under this act passes good title to another person when
transferring that property with the intent to pass title.
Section 14. Expenses and conservation or protective measures.
(a) Lien authorized.--As of the effective date of this act,
a museum shall have a lien for expenses for the reasonable care
of unclaimed loaned property after the expiration date of the
loan.
(b) Conditions required to apply conservation or protective
measures.--Unless the written loan agreement for the property
provides otherwise, a museum may apply conservation or
protective measures to loaned property without the permission of
the lender or formal notice to the lender if:
(1) Action is required to:
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(i) protect the loaned property or other property in
the possession of the museum; or
(ii) protect the health and safety of the public or
museum staff because the loaned 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 five business
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 loaned property on or before the fifth business
day after the museum contacts the lender.
(c) Amount of lien.--If a museum applies conservation or
protective measures to loaned property under this act, or with
the agreement of the lender, unless the written loan agreement
for the loaned property provides otherwise, the museum shall
acquire a lien on the loaned property in an amount equal to the
costs incurred by the museum for the conservation or protective
measures taken.
(d) Liability.--A museum shall not be liable for injury to
or loss of loaned property for which conservation or protective
measures were taken under this act, 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
loaned property or other property in the possession of
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the museum; or
(ii) the loaned property was a hazard to the health
and safety of the public or museum staff.
(2) The museum exercised reasonable care in the choice
and application of the conservation or protective measures.
Section 15. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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