Lela Hersh, ASA, ISA AM



Lela Hersh
ISA member since Apr 25, 2019

(847) 780-4560 (Office)

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Highland Park, IL 60035 map

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Lela Hersh is the president of Museum and Fine Arts Consulting, LLC.  She is an accredited senior appraiser with the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) designated in Fine Arts and Fine Arts Photography and an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA AM). Ms. Hersh has been involved in the arts for 35 years as an arts administrator and has worked as an appraiser, curator, art advisor, collection manager, consultant, and teacher. Her academic record includes an M.F.A. in Photography from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1983), B.A. from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (1981), and B.S. from Old Dominion University, Norfolk (1977).  She is a graduate of the Museum Management Institute (now Museum Leadership Institute), the executive development program of the Getty Leadership Institute (1991). Ms. Hersh also received a Certificate of Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Arts, Northwestern University, Chicago (2007). She is the Past President of the Chicago Chapter of the ASA (2014-2015) and the current Chair of the International Personal Property Discipline of the American Society of Appraisers (2017-2019).

Since 2003, Museum and Fine Arts Consulting has provided personalized and independent collections management and advisory services to museums and cultural institutions, corporations, foundations, galleries, and private and corporate collectors. Ms. Hersh is a twenty-year veteran of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where she served as the Director of Collections and Exhibitions, and later assisted MCA (2012-2013) in the same capacity. Ms. Hersh is also a Senior Lecturer in the Arts Administration and Policy degree program at The School of the Art Institute, Chicago, teaching graduate-level courses, including Art Objects: Valuation and Authentication, and Arts Consulting.

Ms. Hersh has served on several elected and appointed committees, commissions, and boards, including Library Board of Trustees, Highland Park (2012- 2018, Secretary 2013-2015), Commissioner, Cultural Arts Commission, Highland Park (2006-2011, Chair 2010 - 2011), Conservation Committee, City of Chicago (2005), Board Member, American Association of Museums/later American Alliance of Museums (AAM) (1993-1995), Secretary, Midwest Museums Conference (1992-1994), Chair, Legislation Committee and Council Member, Midwest Museums Conference (1990-1992), International Liaison, Registrars Committee, AAM (1990-1992) and Secretary-Treasurer, Midwest Registrars Committee (1989-1990). In addition, she has served in an advisory capacity for numerous councils and programs including Advisory Panelist, Ohio Arts Council, Operating Support (2001), Advisory Board, Encyclopedia of 20th–Century Photography, 2000 (published Routledge, 2006), Surveyor, Museum Assessment Program, AAM (1995-2000), Reviewer, Institute of Museum and Library Services, General Operating Grants (1995-1999) and Reviewer, Technical Information Services, AAM (1994). She is currently a member of ASA’s Board of Examiners and of the International Nominating and Awards Committee.

Ms. Hersh has published work in several areas including selected artist entries, Collection Catalogue, Volume II, by Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2002), Objects of Appraisal: Legal and Ethical Issues, Museum News with Ildiko DeAngelis, September/October, pp. 46-59 (2001), and selected artist biographies, Art in Chicago, 1945-1995, published by Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (1997). She also was a faculty participant at ALI-ABA Course of Study, Appraisals, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2000) and Artist’s Commission Contracts, Chicago (1998). Selected curatorial projects include Evanston Art Center’s 23rd Evanston + Vicinity Biennial (2016), Sculpture Invasion II, Koehnline Museum of Art, Des Plaines, Illinois, (2010) and Bright, a group exhibition, I space, Chicago Gallery of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2007).  She also wrote the Appraisal chapter of AAM’s sixth edition of Museum Registration to be published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers in late 2019.

Ms. Hersh was a continuous presence at AAM conferences on various panels between 1988 and 1997, including The Artist and the Museum II (with Jim Dine), Atlanta (1997), Coping with Non-Traditional Materials in Exhibitions & Collections, Minneapolis (1996), The Artist and the Museum (with Frank Stella), Fort Worth (1993) and Documentation Strategies, Pittsburgh (1988). She spoke at the ASA International Conference on the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990: A Primer (2008), and the inaugural conference of the Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists (ARCS) in Chicago (2013) on the subject What’s Fair about Fair Market Value? Ms. Hersh moderated the panel at the ASA Personal Property conference in San Francisco (2014) titled Online Sales of Art and Antiques and Changing Market Dynamics. She presented Unlocking the Museum's Knowledge Vault: Charitable Contribution Appraisals at ASA’s International Appraisers Conference in Savannah (2014), Exposing False Legacies: The Clues Forgers Leave Behind at ASA’s Personal Property Conference in New York (2015), Game of Clones: Unmasking the Forger, ARCS, New Orleans (2015) and Navigating the Minefield of Legal and Ethical Issues Facing Appraisers, ASA International Conference, Boca Raton (2016).  Ms. Hersh recently spoke on The Valuation and Legal Aspects of Charitable Contributions with Karin Gross, IRS Special Counsel at the biennial ARCS conference in Vancouver, BC (2017) and on the same subject for an ASA Webinar, with Karin Gross, and Charles Gorham, Attorney, both from the IRS Office of Chief of Counsel in Washington, D.C. (2018). She also spoke in Toronto at the seminar Doing the Right Thing: Ethics for Appraisers & Business Valuators Perils (2019) with attorney Jeffrey Brend for the Canadian Business Valuation Institute and the ASA Eastern Canadian Chapter.


  • Damage Claims
  • Estate Tax
  • Expert Witness
  • Non-Cash Charitable Donations

Performs Appraisals Of

  • Art
  • Photography & Photographs

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