“Lost and Found,” the Library of Virginia’s new exhibition, explores how the loss and discovery of items affects personal and collective memory. The exhibition was inspired by the records “found” in bank safety deposit boxes by the Department of Treasury’s Division of Unclaimed Property. In Virginia, the Unclaimed Property Act (Code of Virginia, 55-210.1 to 55-210.30) establishes the Department of Treasury and its Unclaimed Property Division as the official custodian for property left in safety deposit boxes when no owner or heir appears to claim the assets.
By 2001, roughly 300 cubic feet of Department of the Treasury records sat unused in the stacks of the Library of Virginia. Changes in the retention and disposition schedule for this series of records have allowed State Records archivists at LVA to review their contents and make them available to the public for the first time. These records, managed by the Unclaimed Property Division, consist of personal papers culled from abandoned safe deposit boxes throughout the state. Previously, the collection was scheduled to be retained permanently, but was restricted and could be used only by Treasury employees.
Should attempts by Treasury employees to locate the owners or rightful heirs of the unclaimed property prove unsuccessful, the property in question legally reverts to the state. As the contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes arrive in the Unclaimed Property Division, … read more »