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Meeting of the Board of Regents | March 2008

Saturday, March 1, 2008 - 11:20pm

sed seal                                                                                                 






Cultural Education Committee



signature of Jeff CannellJeffrey Cannell


Impact of Chartering Standards and Regulation on Museums, Historical Societies and Cultural Agencies



February 27, 2008



2, 4







Issue for Discussion


              The Regents amended sections 3.27 and 3.30 of Regents Rules for chartering, incorporation and registration of museums, historical societies and cultural agencies in March 2006.  What has been the impact of those changes and what still needs to be done?


Reason for Consideration


              For information to support next steps, including technical amendments to the regulation.


Proposed Handling


The Cultural Education Committee will hear a report on the impact of the March 2006 amended regulations and will review actions being taken to provide greater assistance to chartered institutions. 


Procedural History


              Amended sections 3.27 and 3.30 require technical amendments to (1) narrow the number of institutions covered by the definition of “cultural agency” to eliminate “associations of teachers, students, graduates of educational institutions,” (2) include a statement that only those institutions that have collecting as a stated purpose in their charter or certificate of incorporation shall hold collections, (3) include “planetarium” in the definition of “museum,” and (4), make minor numbering and typographical corrections.

 Background Information


Education Law 216 authorizes the Regents to incorporate museums and other educational institutions, and Regents Rules sections 3.27 and 3.30 provide standards for chartered institutions.  Sections 3.27 and 3.30 were first promulgated in March 1971, and the Regents added a collections management policy requirement in 1998.  The March 2006 amendment greatly expanded the standards by providing a simplified incorporation for historical societies without collections, provided for increased financial, auditing and ethical oversight, and protected collections and resources held in the public trust. 


Specific new elements included a requirement that boards of trustees adopt and regularly review a mission statement and a code of ethics, obtain and keep IRS tax-exempt status, appoint a board-constituted audit committee, require institutions with larger budgets to conduct audits as currently required by the Attorney General for equivalent not-for-profits, mandate a written disaster plan, require a working alarm system for a facility, require an institution not capitalize the value of its collection on its balance sheet, forbid the use of collections as collateral for loans, and allow historical societies without collections to exchange a charter for a Regents certificate of incorporation.


The amended regulations have been publicized through a mailing with a cover memo, presentations at professional conferences, and announcements on web sites and e-mail. 


To ascertain existing conditions, the State Museum will expand its 2007 annual report form to ask questions of all institutions as to implementation of the new requirements.  The responses will establish a baseline measure and allow the State Museum to determine which requirements are problematic for institutions.


To help implement the new standards, the State Museum seeks to expand its workshop series for museum trustees, is inaugurating a regular printed quarterly newsletter, will increase mailings to and contact with the field, possibly through an electronic listserv, will install a click-on state map on the State Museum web site to provide links to existing museum information and web sites, and will investigate installing annual report program and financial information on its web site for all chartered institutions for public inspection. 




The discussion will focus on the need to take next steps beyond promulgating regulations and monitor closely the conditions of museums, provide additional services, better respond to problems, and increase communication to chartered institutions.