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Exploration And Expedition Consulting


Barbara Hoffman’s exploration history began when she participated in Operation Crossroads Africa as a teenager, building a school in Niger, West Africa and Samburu huts on the route of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania the following year. Hoffman has never ceased her exploration.

To mention a few highlights: She was a resident living and studying Sadhus and meditation in India, was involved in Amazon exploration which led to a study of housing in South America, participated in an expedition to study the Korowai and Kombai of Irian Jaya, and dove on the Great Barrier Reef. She participated in several high trekking expeditions in Nepal, as well as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro prior to attending the UN Women’s Conference in Nairobi, Kenya as a delegate. She was also a member of UNESCO’s Commission of Folk Law and Legal Pluralism. A longtime connection to Mali led her to form the tax-exempt Friends of the National Museum of Mali.

Legal Practice

Hoffman has turned her avocation as an explorer into a niche area of legal practice, consulting with explorers and others heading into the field on the law and business of exploration, including how to organize and finance expeditions, sponsorships, working on productions with documentary film and television producers and directors, and negotiating literary, television and media deals.

Hoffman is frequently invited as a speaker on issues dealing with underwater cultural heritage, mediation of cultural heritage disputes and efforts to prevent illicit trafficking. She has been involved with advising several expeditions involving nautical Silk Road shipwrecks. Geographically, in addition to the oceans, she has worked and lived in Japan, China, India, Argentina, Italy, Mali, Spain, France, and Peru and has a strong network of contacts in these regions, assisted by her fluency in French, Spanish, and Italian.

Her areas of practice include:

Gobi Petroglyphs, Mongolia 2018
Gobi Petroglyphs, Mongolia 2018

Professional Affiliation

Hoffman is a member of the New York Women in Film & Television, International Council on Monuments and Sites (Scientific Committee, ICLAFI), the International Council of Museums, and the Museum Attorneys Group, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the Committee of Mediators and Arbitrators. She is a former chair of the International Bar Association’s Art, Cultural Institutions and Heritage Law Committee, and the New York City Bar’s Art Law Committee.

A member of the Antiquities Coalition #CultureUnderThreat task force, she has actively been involved in legal issues involving the illicit trafficking in cultural property. She is the author of one of the bibles in the field – Art Cultural Heritage: Law, Policy and Practice, Barbara T. Hoffman, Cambridge University 2006, a publication sponsored by the International Bar Association as well as the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the International Council of Museums.

She has been actively involved in council in international affairs and in international human rights.

Inducted into the prestigious Explorers Club in 1985, just shortly after the Explorers Club began to admit women, Hoffman immediately became involved in the activities of the club. She served as Vice Chair of the Annual Dinner for many years, as Chair of the President’s Committee, as co-organizer of the dinner, Exploration in Service of the Environment and as Secretary of the club. She has been invited to provide seminars over the years at the Explorers Club on topics like Financing the Expedition: Telling the Story – Exploiting the Rights. She is currently working on a book of the same title.

She served as the Chair of the Explorers Club Legal Committee for more than six years. Hoffman has been selected for inclusion to the list of Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers and Best Law Firm since 2012 and is included in Best Lawyers in Art and Copyright.

She has been awarded the Marquis Who’s Who, the Marquis Lifetime Achievement, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Award for Distinguished Source to Artists. She serves on several international and national boards as a board member or legal advisor.


Hoffman is an honors B.A. graduate of Brown University, M.A. from Johns Hopkins SAIS, London School of Economics, Sciences Po (License), and Columbia Law School, JD Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

“Art world insider, Barbara Hoffman, is my go to choice for any artist or collector to develop a long range vision and successful legal strategy. She has consistently combined creative out of the box thinking with incomparable knowledge and decades of experience to assist me and all those that I have referred to her.”

David Raymond
Philanthropist, Collector, Artist, & Film