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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Barnes Foundation

159 A.2d 500 (1960)

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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Barnes Foundation

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

159 A.2d 500 (1960)

Facts

Dr. Albert Barnes transferred his art collection, arboretum, house, and other property in a charitable trust to the Barnes Foundation (defendant). The corporate purpose of the Barnes Foundation was to promote education and appreciation of the arts, and Barnes explicitly stated that the gallery and arboretum must be open to the public. However, the officers and trustees of the Barnes Foundation consistently refused to permit the general public admission to the art gallery. Despite the denial of access to the public, the Barnes Foundation was found to be a public charity in an earlier case in which the foundation claimed tax-exempt status. The attorney general of Pennsylvania (plaintiff) filed a petition in the court of common pleas, requesting an order that the trustees of the Barnes Foundation show cause as to why they should not abide by the terms set by Barnes to permit public appreciation of his art collection. The Barnes Foundation filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, which the court of common pleas granted. The attorney general appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Musmanno, J.)

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