Phillips-Hill’s Streamlining Abandoned Museum Property Bill Passes Senate

HARRISBURG – The Senate of Pennsylvania approved a measure aimed at supporting the efficient management of Pennsylvania’s private and not-for-profit museums and historical societies, according to the legislation’s sponsor, Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York). The bill will address the ownership challenges faced by these entities regarding abandoned, unclaimed, or undocumented property left in their care.

The bill would address the pressing issue of ownership challenges surrounding abandoned, unclaimed, or undocumented property within the possession of museums and historical societies. By allowing these entities to establish title to such property, Phillips-Hill envisions a more efficient use of funds and a streamlined process for conserving, displaying, and ethically disposing of historical artifacts.

“In many cases, the abandoned or unclaimed property in question has low monetary value and was documented in the museum’s inventory decades ago, with lenders, if known at all, now deceased,” Phillips-Hill stated. “The bill not only addresses challenges faced by museums but also sets a precedent for responsible and ethical practices in the management of these invaluable institutions.”

The legislation provides a systematic process for claiming or disposing of unclaimed property when lenders are deceased, heirs cannot be found, or proof of claim is absent. Notably, this forward-looking approach aligns with recent legislation passed by many other states.

Senate Bill 228 heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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