Cultural Heritage Law

In the last decades, significant legal changes have occurred that impact the trade and ownership of ancient, international ethnographic, and Native American art. New laws have been enacted and older laws reinterpreted and revised. In addition, there is greater public awareness of national and tribal claims, and of the need to protect and preserve archaeological heritage.

Cultural heritage issues can include compliance with current laws on import, export and sale of art, ethnographic materials, and international antiquities. Art owners should be aware that current enforcement practices may give extraordinary deference to foreign laws and claims.

Our goal is to provide our clients with the information they need on the acquisition, transfer and ownership of international and Native American cultural objects and art.

The legal status of cultural objects can also be impacted by federal and state laws and regulations on endangered species, including elephant and marine mammal ivory, or other laws governing the possession and trade in objects decorated with feathers of eagles or other wild birds.

For more information, visit our International Cultural Property and Native American Art pages.