Guest post by MCN 2016 Scholar Emily Kotecki, Distance Learning Educator, North Carolina Museum of Art
As a first timer to MCN, I wasn’t sure how similar or different it would be to Museums and the Web. Similar crowd, similar topic. However, in talking to another conference goer, she explained it best: MCN is tactical, Museums and the Web is thought leadership. Don’t get me wrong, each conference has elements of both. But MCN felt on the ground, applicable and relevant, starting with the theme of the human-centered museum. At the North Carolina Museum of Art, we are launching several new digital projects with the prime focus of creating personalized, engaging and relevant experiences with art.
On the first full day of the conference there were a lot of sessions dedicated to evaluating interactive technologies. Perfect! These sessions identified key evaluation questions that I can bring back to my team as we install two interactive screens. The second day seemed to focus on thoughtful, audience-centered website redesigns. Check! The panelists shed light on interesting ways to gauge visitor motivations as we explore integrating our homesite and teacher resource site. On the last day of the conference, I had the opportunity to be part of the MCN Scholar Lightning Talks as well as present with my colleague about a new model of collaboration at the NCMA. It helped to have a colleague from another department with me at the conference so that we could divide and conquer in attending sessions and come back with a shared language when we returned to work.
Looking ahead, MCN also helped me understand what questions I can ask my colleagues at NCMA so that as an institution we can continue to meet the needs of our audiences:
- How are we connected, internally, on a systems level?
- What systems (DAMS, CRM) do we need to better collaborate internally and share content and understand our visitors?
- How are we collecting, utilizing, and sharing data?
The sessions, these questions, and the people, helped shape my experience so that I could take ideas and turn them into action.