2013-04-18 / News

Paiva Weed bill addresses museum loans

Museums in Rhode Island are fortunate to benefit from the generosity of individuals who give long-term or permanent loans so that others may appreciate them.

But such loans sometimes pose a dilemma for museums: What to do with those items if they no longer want to display them and can’t find the owner?

Sen. President Teresa Paiva Weed introduced legislation last week that gives museums a legal process to follow in such situations.

The legislation would allow museums to become owners of abandoned items after a period of time. Following the grace period, a museum would be allowed to exhibit, conserve, transfer or throw way items without risk of liability.

“It is a way in which we can support our museums and historical societies without any cost to the state,” said Paiva Weed.

The legislation would deem the museum the owner of loaned material if it has had the item for more than five years and has made a good-faith effort to try to track down the lender.

The legislation would create a special new section in the unclaimed property list just for items lent to museums.

Doug Stark of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum has submitted written testimony in favor of the bill.

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