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The American Council for Cultural Policy, a public charity created in 2002 is dedicated to enhancing knowledge and understanding of issues and policies affecting the collecting of works of art by museums and private individuals in the United States and to research, gather and disseminate information relevant to such issues.

The American Council is headquartered in New York City and also has a representative in Washington. As an operating entity, the Council includes a President, Ashton Hawkins, Vice President Arthur Houghton, Treasurer William Pearlstein, and Secretary Arielle Kozloff. The Councilís work is overseen by a Board of Advisors which includes scholars in the fields of history, art history and archaeology; museum officials including: directors, administrators, curators, and trustees; art collectors; distinguished representatives of not-for-profit and other public service organizations; and legal specialists in art and the international art trade. The Council receives financial support from individuals, foundations, and organizations. It receives no public money.

The primary goals of the Council are as follows:

  • Develop detailed information and analysis on cultural policies within the United States; assess the effect of federal and state statutes and court decisions and administrative directives, rulings, and guidelines as they relate to cultural property issues, including the protection, ownership, borrowing, lending, buying, and selling of cultural property.
  • Create and distribute information materials and publications on cultural property matters to educational institutions, museums, collectors, legal and other specialists, and professionals concerned with the trade.
  • Create appropriate forums for the discussion of cultural property matters by concerned institutions, groups and individuals and to keep people connected with the American Council aware of changes in the law when possible.

The Council strongly supports the principles underlying the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import and Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property of 1970. It believes that archaeological and ethnographic materialóincluding sites of great sensitivity and importanceómust be protected, and it supports US participation in international efforts to do so, with the view that such participation should be carried out in a manner that is balanced, fair, and open.

As the United States is a country of heterogeneous peoples including immigrants from many other nations and Native Americans whose distinct and different heritages constitute a significant part of our national cultural identity, the Council supports the acquisition by public institutions and private collectors of objects and material that help to illuminate our diverse culture, and to educate the public about other national, cultural or ethnic traditions.