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Legal Issues in Cultural Heritage Management

A Polish Perspective


Alicja Jagielska-Burduk and Wojciech Szafrański

This book presents the legal institutions involved in cultural heritage protection from a Polish point of view. Its authors set out the legal framework of cultural management in the context of private and public law. They analyse the Anglo-Saxon concept of trusts, fideicommissum set up by aristocratic families and, in the Polish legal system, foundations and property law. The authors research these institutions in terms of their ability to secure valuable cultural property selected for its artistic, historic and cultural qualities and of their effectiveness in doing so. They also outline a model of economic heritage management putting forward proposals for its future operation.

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II. Law in cultural heritage management


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II.  Law in cultural heritage management

II.1  Private- and public-law aspects of cultural heritage

II.1.1   Ownership of cultural heritage

The perception of ownership of cultural heritage follows two models in Poland. The first is based solely on findings concerning ownership and the entity that enjoys it. The second model, approaching a negotiating one, is taken advantage of when there is a problem with identifying the owner of a cultural heritage object. In the latter case, a willingness emerges to work out solutions satisfying for both the public and private entity. Claims filed with museums by the successors of owners have forced this model on public sector entities, who being merely possessors in the eyes of law, were restricted in what they could do. This model has been successfully used with respect to objects seized by museums from private collections pursuant to inapplicable nationalization laws. In such cases, the willingness to take up negotiations on the ownership of, and rights to, cultural heritage objects is greatly boosted by the desire to keep the objects available to the public, make them safe in their place, or to continue to use an immovable monument, housing an institution of culture.

The most frequently considered solutions have included entering into a contract of loan for use, setting up a foundation by those entitled to the objects, or even making a deed of gift to the possessors.28 A departure from this practice will certainly...

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