Legal Issues in Museum Administration - CLE, Continuing Legal Education - ALI
Legal Issues in Museum Administration
  • Cosponsored by The Smithsonian Institution with the cooperation of the American Association of Museums
  • Wednesday-Friday
  • March 14-16, 2007
  • Sheraton City Center (FKA Wyndham Franklin Plaza)
  • Philadelphia, PA
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Available Online: | Coursebook

What You Will Learn

This annual course of study, comprising more than seventeen hours of instruction, provides museum directors, administrators, trustees, legal counsel, and others who are concerned with museum operations with awareness of the legal issues and problems that they will encounter. Primary emphasis is on new materials. However, the course is structured so that considerable familiarity with the subject matter is not required. Every attempt is made to provide practical information and to present ways of avoiding and solving expected problems.


This year, special emphasis is given to the legal issues and best practices in collecting and exhibiting antiquities, changing the museum legal structure and operating within a parent organization, and expanding the museum virtual presence through pods or blogs.


All questions are presented from the legal point of view. However, no attempt is made to draw an arbitrary line between legal aspects and matters of policy. Time is reserved throughout the program to address registrants’ written questions.

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Planning Chairs

Rachelle V. Browne, Associate General Counsel, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Program Chair

Ildiko P. DeAngelis, Director, Museum Studies Program, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

James R. Gilson, Vice President and General Counsel, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles

Rebecca L. Murray, Associate Counsel, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Arrangements Chair

Christine Nicholson, Associate General Counsel, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Adine K. Varah, Deputy City Attorney, San Francisco

Helen J. Wechsler, Director, Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects, American Association of Museums, Washington, D.C.

Maureen Whalen, Associate General Counsel, The J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles

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Lawrence H. Berger, General Counsel, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

Bernadette G. Callery, Museum Librarian and Head, Library and Archives, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh

Stephen W. Clark, Deputy General Counsel, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Sharon H. Cott, Vice President and General Counsel, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Jeffrey P. Cunard, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Washington, D.C.

Larry Dubinski, Vice President of Development and General Counsel, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia

Peter C. Erichsen, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, The J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles

Sharon M. Erwin, Law Offices of Sharon M. Erwin, L.L.C., Philadelphia

Simon J. Frankel, Covington & Burling LLP, San Francisco

Derek A. Gillman, Executive Director and President, The Barnes Foundation, Merion, Pennsylvania

Marian A. Godfrey, Managing Director, Culture and Civic Initiatives, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia

Robert E. Goldman, Fox Rothschild LLP, Warrington, Pennsylvania

Fredric H. Goldstein, General Counsel, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

Lauryn H. Guttenplan, Associate General Counsel, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Barbara T. Hoffman, Hoffman Law Firm, New York

John E. Huerta, General Counsel, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Elaine L. Johnston, Assistant General Counsel, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Stephen J. Knerly, Jr., Hahn Loeser + Parks, LLP, Cleveland

Richard S. Levick, President and Chief Executive Officer, Levick Strategic Communications, LLC, Washington, D.C.

Lawrence K. Mendenhall, Senior Officer, Legal Affairs and Associate General Counsel, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia

Brett I. Miller, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Washington, D.C.

Michael W. Monroe, Executive Director, Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington

Michael J. Ossip, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Philadelphia

Maria Pallante, Associate General Counsel and Director of Licensing, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

Abraham C. Reich, Fox Rothschild LLP, Philadelphia

Celia Roady, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth R. Salasko, Associate General Counsel, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Lorraine A. Sciarra, Senior University Counsel, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Marsha S. Shaines, Deputy General Counsel, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

James C. Snipes, Covington & Burling LLP, San Francisco

Lauren B. Steinfeld, Chief Privacy Officer, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Martin Sullivan, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Historic St. Mary’s City, St. Mary’s City, Maryland

Stephen K. Urice, Associate Professor of Law, University of Miami School of Law, Coral Gables, Florida

Ralph G. Wellington, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, Philadelphia

Courtney B. Wilson, Executive Director, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, Baltimore

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Program Schedule


7:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:00 a.m. Optional Session: Introduction to International Law – Ms. Erwin

8:45 a.m. Continental Breakfast (continued)

9:00 a.m. Introductory Remarks

9:10 a.m. Course Overview


9:30 a.m. Introduction to Key Issues and Legal Framework – Messrs. Knerly, Sullivan, and Urice

10:15 a.m. Acquisition and Exhibition Best Practices - Mss. Johnston and Murray and Mr. Knerly

11:00 a.m. Networking Break

11:15 a.m. Resolving Disputes – Messrs. Clark and Snipes and Ms. Johnston

12:15 p.m. Questions and Answers

12:30 p.m. Luncheon and Address - The Integrity of Collections – Mr. Gillman


2:00 p.m. Tax and Legislative Update Including the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (Fractional Gifts and 990 Disclosures) and Executive Compensation – Mss. Roady and Shaines

3:15 p.m. Networking Break

3:30 p.m. "What’s a Name Worth": Naming Rights and Donor Recognition as Fund-Raising Strategies – Mr. Dubinski and Mss. Pallante and Salasko

4:00 p.m. Questions and Answers

4:15 p.m. The Lawyer’s Role in Crisis Management – Ms. Cott and Messrs. Erichsen, Huerta, and Levick

5:15 p.m. Adjournment for the Day

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Networking Reception for Registrants and Faculty at Philadelphia Museum of Art



7:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast

8:00 a.m. Optional Session: Introduction to the American Legal System – Mr. Wellington

8:45 a.m. Continental Breakfast (continued)


9:00 a.m. The State of the Museum – Mss. Godfrey and Wechsler

9:30 a.m. Case Histories: Beginnings, Successes, and Failures – Messrs. Monroe and Wilson

10:00 a.m. Potential Solutions: Mergers, Partnerships, Collaborations, Transfers, and Other Fundamental Changes for Evolving Museums – Messrs. Berger and Gilson and Ms. Guttenplan

10:45 a.m. Networking Break

11:00 a.m. Legal and Business Models for Museums Operating Within Non-Museum Parent Organizations – Mss. Sciarra, Varah, and Wechsler and Mr. Sullivan

12:00 noon Questions and Answers

12:30 p.m. Lunch Break (on your own)

*Nuts and Bolts of Standard Auction House Practices, eBay, and On-Line Auction Purchases and Sales – Ms. Browne and Mr. Goldstein

*Document Retention: Best Practices and Lessons Learned – Mss. Callery and Nicholson

*Who Can Sue the Museum: The Evolving Doctrine of Legal Standing – Mr. Mendenhall

*Privacy Issues and the Museum’s Workforce: From Screening to Providing References for Applicants, Employees, and Volunteers – Mr. Ossip and Ms. Steinfeld

* Artists and Scholars in Residence at the Museum: Risks, Rights, and Releases –Mss. Browne and Hoffman

* Legal Ethics: Who is The Client? – The Museum Board, Officers, Employee, or the "Public" –Messrs. Goldstein and Reich

* This session will be part of the live video webcast.


4:00 p.m. Networking Break

4:15 p.m. Recent Developments Involving Stolen Collection Objects – Mr. Goldman

4:35 p.m. Litigation Update – Mr. Clark

5:15 p.m. Adjournment for the Day

6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Networking Reception for Registrants and Faculty at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts


FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2007

7:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast

7:30 a.m. Optional Session: Introduction to Copyright, Trademark, and Rights of Publicity - Mr. Miller

8:15 a.m. Continental Breakfast (continued)



8:30 a.m. Making Your Mark: Creating and Protecting Museum Trademarks, Logos, and Names – Mr. Miller and Ms. Pallante

9:00 a.m. Can a Museum Control Use of its Public Domain Collection Objects? Copyright, Licensing, and Reproduction Policies – Mr. Frankel and Ms. Guttenplan

9:30 a.m. Questions and Answers

9:45 a.m. Networking Break

10:00 a.m. Pods and Blogs: Museums in the Virtual World – Messrs. Cunard and Gilson and Ms. Whalen

11:30 a.m. Questions and Answers

11:45 a.m. Adjournment


Total 60-minute hours of instruction: 17.75, including one hour of ethics

Educational Objective: Development of initial level of competency; acquisition of knowledge and skills; maintenance of professional competence; provision of information on recent legal developments

Level of Instruction: Orientation

Click Here for MCLE Credit Information

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Here's what registrants have said about this course:

Terrific course and a great group of people. I learned a lot and the materials will be invaluable.

The course is excellent and the quality of speakers and presenters was very good. I was extremely satisfied with the course and plan to attend next year.

Good course! I plan to attend or send staff in the future.

Excellent course – topics were very appropriate, at least to some of my challenges. All the speakers were obviously well informed and the majority were excellent presenters.

Course was great. Great mix of attorneys and museum professionals. All attendees benefit from the course. Well done.

I am never disappointed by the articulate, knowledgeable presenters at this conference. And I am always expected to stretch my mind and question assumptions and experiences in the most astonishing ways. 

It’s like spring cleaning for the mind! Thank you again for another edifying and excellent conference.

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