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Press Release (12/15/2023): NMA Collaborating with Senator Aguilar to change Museum Property Act

The Nebraska Museums Association is working with District 35 Senator Aguilar to modernize the Nebraska Museum Property Act, a set of statutes for how Nebraska museums manage their collections. Many museums across the state have items in their collections that were never properly accessioned into the collection at the time of donation or were given to the museum on loan and never reclaimed. Without proper documentation, these pieces must lie in limbo in museums for an extended period, during which museums cannot properly treat, research, exhibit, or rehome them to a more appropriate nonprofit, as the museum does not legally own the item. Under the current Act, the process to find the original donor or lender of an item takes a minimum of 10 years and relies on a singular, outdated method to attempt to find said donor or lender. The Act currently states that after a period of at least seven years in the collection, three written notices must appear in the local newspaper, and only after waiting an additional three years, can any action be taken with the item.

Museums across the state agree that posting a notice in the newspaper is no longer as effective as it was when the original Act was written and are asking for the addition of digital media alongside the posting in the newspaper to be added to the Act. They feel the addition of digital media has a higher probability of finding the appropriate person, and will increase the efficiency of this process, meaning the wait time after publishing notifications can decrease from three years to one year before action can be taken.

“Museums across the nation have undocumented items in their collections. The changes that the Nebraska Museums Association is proposing for the Museum Property Act are intended to help museums across the state to properly care for all items in their possession, not just store them. Nebraska is not alone in requesting assistance to change legislation regarding museum property,” states NMA President Rebecca Matticks. The Nebraska Museums Association’s membership currently includes eighty museums. The NMA Board is comprised of eighteen museum professionals that fully support the change in legislation.

NMA Members, please share the press release with your local media:

A bulletpoint breakdown of the proposed changes to the museum property act and why they are needed:

A copy of the legislation with proposed changes highlighted:

Standard Letter to Support LB926:

Read the LB926 Revisions to the Nebraska Museum Property Act.

Contact your Senator and ask them to support LB926.

Submit Comments and Support for LB926.

Watch January 2024 Monthly Museum Musing on NMA’s Work to Update the Museum Property Act

Message from NSHS Foundation

Dear Friend of Nebraska History,

As we prepare for the 2024 travel season, we would like to invite you to join the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation’s free WanderNebraska program! This statewide travel adventure program encourages travelers to visit Nebraska museums, libraries, and other historical points of interest across the state.

In its third year of programming, we continue to learn how we can best serve participant sites. As a result, this year we plan to offer both a digital and physical booklet option. Travelers will have the option of tracking their historic site visits in our booklet, on the WanderNebraska.com  website, or both. We also plan to offer prizes to incentivize Nebraska travelers’ participation Travelers will be able to win lottery tickets, ballcaps, t-shirts and totes.

We will admit that program participation will not guarantee an increase in visitors at your site (although we hope it will!). We appreciate your understanding as we continue to increase the effectiveness of this free, experimental program with your generous insights and feedback.

If you are interested in participating in WanderNebraska 2024, please complete and mail or return via email to LFattig@nshsf.org the attached form by February 15, 2024. While we can update and add sites to our website throughout the duration of the program, if you would like your site printed in our booklet option, we will need to have received your form before February 15. If we do not receive the completed form or hear back from you, we will assume you are opting-out of the 2024 program.

Thank you for your consideration. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2024!

PS: Please remember that NSHSF offers FREE Nebraska Museum Association members to all statewide grant applicants. Contact 
 Director of Special Projects Sue Quambusch squambusch@nshsf.org for more information. 


Do you have something you would like to share with the Nebraska Museum Community, contact the NMA Communications Editor.

For the most current Nebraska Museum news, events, and announcement. . .


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