Marion F. Werkheiser

Washington Office
703.489.6059 direct

Firm co-founder and managing member Marion Forsyth Werkheiser serves as a trusted strategic advisor to clients throughout the cultural heritage and preservation communities. She has counseled more than seventy-five enterprises on organizational capacity-building projects, including government relations, strategic planning, board development, program evaluation, fundraising, and risk management.

A leader in cultural heritage law, Marion co-founded in 2004 the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation and served as its inaugural vice-president. For four years she taught an upper level seminar on international and domestic cultural property law at the College of William and Mary Law School.

Prior to launching Cultural Heritage Partners, Marion co-founded and for five years co-directed the Phoenix Project, a nationally recognized social enterprise focused on improving business practices and sustainability of social sector organizations and preparing the next generation of social entrepreneurs. The Phoenix Project now is part of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at George Mason University.

Marion previously practiced corporate, regulatory and international trade law in the Washington, DC office of Baker & Daniels. She also served as a legal fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). Well-versed in grassroots and party politics, she maintains excellent relationships with legislators and staffers on Capitol Hill and in state houses across the country.

Marion earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School and is licensed to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University, where she was a Wells Scholar and earned her B.A. degree in political science and classical civilization with an emphasis in art and archaeology.


  • Form and advise the Gas and Preservation Partnership (GAPP), which brings together leaders from the shale gas industry and the preservation community to devise solutions that protect cultural resources during shale gas development.
  • Devise and execute government affairs strategy for the American Cultural Resources Association, the trade association for the cultural resource management industry, and the Society for Historical Archaeology, the largest scholarly group concerned with the archaeology of the modern world.
  • Represent tribal historic preservation office in advocacy to protect sacred sites.
  • Advise owner of overseas cultural heritage site regarding forming a U.S. 501(c)(3) organization to raise funds and develop programming partnerships.
  • Advise not-for-profit advocacy organization on efforts to preserve a historic bridge impacted by transportation development.
  • Represent tribal government in issues related to state recognition process.
  • Advise cultural resource management firm on government contracting issues, including 8(a) certification and federal agency disputes.
  • Counsel mid-sized museum on board governance and risk management issues.


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  • Expert Member, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Committee on Legal, Administrative and Financial Issues
  • Virginia State Bar
  • District of Columbia Bar