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Incorporating Educational Corporations

  • New York State and Educational Corporations

    In New York State, education corporations are created by the Board of Regents of The University of the State of New York. As the senior educational authority in New York State, the Board of Regents oversees the State's educational system. Nonprofit organizations and institutions with educational purposes seeking to incorporate, must do so under Education Law § 216, subject to the authority of the Regents.

    While every other state views cultural agencies as nonprofit businesses, New York treats them as educational organizations. This is a significant difference because the underlying assumption of Education Law, as implemented by the Rules of the Regents, is that the Board of Regents will evaluate the quality of an organization or institution that seeks to be incorporated.

    Although the process of incorporating cultural agencies in New York State is a regulatory function, the posture of the Board of Regents and the staff of the State Education Department is developmental. Fostering the evolution of excellent cultural agencies in New York State is the primary objective of the policies governing incorporation. New York's wide range of excellent cultural agencies is recognized by the Board of Regents as one of our State's most important educational resources.

    There are two different incorporation types within the New York State Education Department; charter and certificate of incorporation. For this instance, charters are only granted to museums and historical socities with collections, while certificate of incorporation are granted to cultural agencies that do not own collections.

  • Rules and Regulations

    All New York State Board of Regents incorporated organizations have to follow certain rules and regulations in order to be in good standing:

    To understand what it means to be a trustee or board member

    Property of museum/ historical society 

  • Document Request

    To request copies of a charter or Regents certificate of incorporation please contact either of the two offices below and provide then with the name of the organization and the date the charter/certificate was issued.

    New York State Archives
    New York State Education Department
    Cultural Education Center
    Albany NY 12230
    Phone: (518) 474-8955
    archref@nysed.gov 

    New York State Board of Regents
    New York State Education Department
    89 Washington Avenue
    Board of Regents, Room 110 EB
    Albany NY 12234
    Phone: (518) 474-5889
    RegentsOffice@nysed.gov 

  • New York State Education Department Statement on Museum Deaccessioning

    The New York State Board of Regents (“the Regents”) charters museums in New York State as educational corporations and has governing authority over these incorporated organizations. In 2011, the Regents approved an amendment to its Rules regarding deaccession policies, including the practice of deaccessioning and the use of funds resulting from such practice. 

    Recently, there had been some confusion in the museum field regarding deaccessioning regulations. The Regents Rules are in alignment with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Code of Ethics for Museums that remain in place.

    The relevant Regents Rules are listed below:

    Title 8 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York

    §3.27
    (a) Definitions.

    (10) Deaccession means: (a) removing an object from an institution's collection or (b) the act of recording/processing a removal from an institution's collection.
    (5) Facilities. The institution shall:

    (e) Deaccession. The criteria and process (including levels of permission) used for determining what items are to be removed from the collections, and a statement limiting the use of any funds derived therefrom in accordance with subparagraph (vii) below;

    (iv) ensure that collections or any individual part thereof and the proceeds derived therefrom shall not be used as collateral for a loan;
    (v) ensure that collections shall not be capitalized; and
    (vi) ensure that proceeds derived from the deaccessioning of any property from the institution's collection be restricted in a separate fund to be used only for the acquisition, preservation, protection or care of collections. In no event shall proceeds derived from the deaccessioning of any property from the collection be used for operating expenses or for any purposes other than the acquisition, preservation, protection or care of collections.

    (7) Deaccessioning of collections. An institution may deaccession an item in its collection only in a manner consistent with its mission statement and collections management policy and where one or more of the following criteria have been met:

    (i)    the item is inconsistent with the mission of the institution as set forth in its mission statement;
    (ii)    the item has failed to retain its identity;

    (iii)    the item is redundant;

    (iv)    the item's preservation and conservation needs are beyond the capacity of the institution to provide;

    (v)    the item is deaccessioned to accomplish refinement of collections;

    (vi)    it has been established that the item is inauthentic;

    (vii)    the institution is repatriating the item or returning the item to its rightful owner;

    (viii)    the institution is returning the item to the donor, or the donor's heirs or assigns, to fulfill donor restrictions relating to the item which the institution is no longer able to meet;

    (ix)    the item presents a hazard to people or other collection items; and/or

    (x)    the item has been lost or stolen and has not been recovered.

    Museum Reporting Requirements

    §3.27 & §3.30
    Each institution shall file with the commissioner an annual report, in a form prescribed by the commissioner, which records the educational and cultural activities of the institution and presents an accurate statement of all financial operations. Each institution shall include in its annual report a list of all items or item lots deaccessioned in the past year and all items or item lots disposed of in the past year.

    More Information on Deaccessioning

    NYSED 
    2011 Amendment of Regents Rule §3.27, Relating to Museum Collections Management Policies
    https://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2011/2011-02-12

    American Alliance of Museums (Direct Care of Collections) 
    https://www.aam-us.org/programs/ethics-standards-and-professional-practices/direct-care-of-collections/ 

    Association of Art Museum Directors 2020 Resolution regarding Deaccessions (AAMD)
    https://aamd.org/for-the-media/press-release/aamd-board-of-trustees-approves-resolution-to-provide-additional

Annual Report

NY Ed. Law §215:  "The regents, or the commissioner of education, or their representatives, may visit, examine into and inspect, any institution in the university and any school or institution under the educational supervision of the state, and may require, as often as desired, duly verified reports therefrom giving such information and in such form as the regents or the commissioner of education shall prescribe. For refusal or continued neglect on the part of any institution in the university to make any report required, or for violation of any law or any rule of the university, the regents may suspend the charter or any of the rights and privileges of such institution." 

8 NYCRR 3.27  & 3.30: Each institution shall file with the commissioner an annual report, in a form prescribed by the commissioner, which records the educational and cultural activities of the institution and presents an accurate statement of all financial operations. Each institution shall include in its annual report a list of all items or item lots deaccessioned in the past year and all items or item lots disposed of in the past year.

Electronic Annual Report is available. Please have the 2019 annual report submitted by November 1, 2020.

The most recent Regents charter agenda can be found here

For copies of institutional policies please contact the New York State Chartering Office

Contact Chartering

Chartering Program
New York State Education Department
C/o Lauren Lyons
Room 3023, Cultural Education Center
Albany NY 12230
Phone: (518) 486-3843
charters@nysed.gov