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General Laws

Section 1. As used in this chapter, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:—

“Claimant”, a person, other than the lender, who claims to be legally entitled to, or who establishes legal entitlement to, property held by a museum.

“Lender”, a person who loans property to a museum and whose name appears in the museum’s records as the person legally entitled to the property held by the museum.

“Loan”, a deposit of property with a museum for a specified period of time, that is not accompanied by a transfer of title to the property or other evidence of donative intent; but does not include a consignment of property for sale.

“Museum”, an institution or entity located in the commonwealth that:

(i) is operated by a nonprofit corporation, trust, association, public agency or educational institution;

(ii) is operated primarily for educational, scientific, historic preservation, cultural or aesthetic purposes; and

(iii) owns, borrows, cares for, exhibits, studies, archives or catalogues property.

The word, “museum” shall include, but not be limited to, historical societies, historic sites, landmarks, parks, archives, monuments, botanical gardens, arboreta, zoos, nature centers, planetaria, aquaria, libraries, technology centers and art, history, science and natural history museums.

“Person”, an individual, association, partnership, corporation, trust, estate or other entity having a legal interest in property in the custody of a museum.

“Property”, tangible objects, animate or inanimate, in the custody of a museum.

“Undocumented property”, property:

(i) that is held by a museum;

(ii) that is assumed to be a gift to the museum; and

(iii) whose ownership cannot be determined by reference to the museum’s records.

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