Marion F. Werkheiser

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 California, 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.


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


  • 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.
  • Coordinate Preservation 50, the national celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act.
  • Advise foreign government on efforts to protect cultural heritage sites at risk of looting.
  • Advise tribal historic preservation office on protection of sacred sites and creative mitigation options.
  • Represent consulting party in Section 106 process on advocacy efforts to preserve a historic bridge impacted by transportation development.



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    • Presenter, “Bridging the GAPP: Protecting Historic Resources and Promoting Energy
      Development in Ohio,” Heritage Ohio Conference, Kent, Ohio, 2014.
    • Plenary Speaker, “Making Historic Preservation Advocacy Count for Arizona,” Arizona Historic Preservation Conference, Rio Rico, AZ, 2014.
    • Lecture, “The Fight Against Cultural Racketeering: Exposing the Global Black Market in Looted Art and Antiquities,” Indiana University Mathers Museum, Bloomington, IN, 2014.
    • Moderator, “Bridging the GAPP: Protecting Archaeological Resources and Promoting Energy Development,” Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, Austin, TX, 2014.
    • Moderator, “Bridging the GAPP: Mapping a New Policy Agenda for Shale Gas Development and Historic Preservation,” National Preservation Conference, Indianapolis, IN, 2013.
    • Panelist, “Developing Effective Strategies for Cultural Resources Compliance & Energy Development,” 19th Annual American Cultural Resources Association Conference, Washington, DC, 2013.
    • Presenter, “Government Relations in the Cultural Resource Sector,” Society for California Archaeology Annual Meeting, Berkeley, CA, 2013.
    • Panelist, “The Arts on Capitol Hill,” 5th Annual Art Litigation and Dispute Resolution Institute, New York County Lawyers’ Association, New York, NY, 2012.
    • Program Co-Chair, Cultural Resources: Section 106, Historic Preservation & Traditional Cultural Properties, CLE International, Washington, DC, 2012.
    • Keynote Address, “High Stakes for Cultural Resources in the 2012 Election,” 18th Annual American Cultural Resources Association Conference, Seattle, WA, 2012.
    • “Preservation Law and Risk Management,” Preservation Virginia Statewide Conference, Leesburg, VA, 2012.
    • “Organizational Creation and Compliance,” Social Innovation Program at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, 2012.
    • Moderator, “Training the Next Generation of Social Enterpreneurs,” Accelerating Social Entrepreneurship in the Age of Austerity, Arlington, VA, 2011.
    • “International Cultural Property Trusts,” US/ICOMOS World Bank Symposium, Washington, DC, 2010.
    • Moderator, “A Fight for the Future: Art and Antiquities Crime,” Saving Antiquities for Everyone Beacon Awards, New York, NY, 2010.
    • Moderator, “How Technology is Knocking Down Doors and Fueling Social Innovation,” Accelerating Social Entrepreneurship Conference, Washington, DC, 2009.
    • “United States Cultural Heritage Law Overview,” U.S. State Department, International Visitor Program for Museum Curators, Washington, DC, 2006.
    • “U.S. Criminal ARPA Prosecutions in 2005,” Archaeology and Law Enforcement Workshop, Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, Montreal, 2006.
    • Symposium Co-Chair, “Archaeology in the Courts,” Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, 2005.
    • Symposium Co-Chair, “Teaching and Ethics in the Curriculum,” Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, Montreal, 2004.
    • “Casualties of War: The Destruction of Iraqi Cultural Property as a Result of U.S. Action in the Gulf War,” Fifth World Archaeological Congress, Washington, DC, 2003.