These records were created between 1974 and 1995 by Stephen E. Weil during his tenure as Deputy Director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG). The records consist of correspondence with other international and national museums and art institutions; correspondence concerning policies and legal questions raised by the public and other concerned public officials; research notes, including drafts to some of the articles Weil wrote for publication; handwritten and typed drafts of Weil's speeches; research, notes, manuscript, and outlines to Weil's monographs entitled, A Cabinet of Curiosities: Inquiries into Museums and their Prospects, Rethinking the Museum and Other Meditations, and Beauty and the Beasts: On Museums, Art, the Law, and the Market; reviews of his monographs; his reviews of other books; minutes of the Museum's staff meetings; and memoranda to and from the Director and other heads of departments in the Museum and other bureaus of the Smithsonian Institution.
Other records concern Weil's work as Planning Committee and Faculty Member, American Law Institute-American Bar Association; Co-Director, Senior Museum Associate, Advisory Committee and Faculty Member at the Museum Management Institute, a program administered by The American Federation of Arts; and Founding Chairman and Member of the Executive Board, International Committee on Management (INTERCOM) and International Council of Museums (ICOM). Included is a large volume of records pertaining to the functions and activities of the American Association of Museums (AAM). The AAM records concern Weil's work as the Association's Councilor-at-Large, Chairman of the Committee on Professional Practices, Vice President, Treasurer and Member of the Executive Board. A small volume of records relate to Weil's work as Board of Trustees Member, both at Brown University and The American Federation of Arts; Advisory Board Member of several art institutions, including Research Center for Arts and Culture, Columbia University, and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, New York, New York; presidential appointee as member of Cultural Property Advisory Committee, United States Information Agency; and Chairman, Advisory Committee, Museum Loan Network.
The records are interspersed with travel authorizations; notes and lectures for the legal courses Weil taught at several institutions; newspaper and magazine articles related to public policies and legal issues affecting museums and art institutions; computer printouts; pamphlets; brochures; and postcards.