The history of MCN spans more than 45 years, a period during which technology and information technology in particular developed at an exponential pace. In 1967, an informal grouping of museums in the New York City area established the Museum Computer Network (MCN) with the goal of automating their registration records. With funding from the New York Council on the Arts, MCN developed a prototype mainframe network that was shared by participants from 1968 to 1971. When the funding ended in 1971, MCN was formally incorporated as a nonprofit organization that has since attracted members from around the world. As new technology superseded the original shared registration system, MCN evolved into a network of dedicated professionals wishing to improve their means of developing, managing, and conveying museum information through the use of automation. Through annual conferences that began in 1972, MCN has supported the dissemination of information about the use of computers in museum practice. MCN continues to foster innovation and excellence today by supporting professionals who seek to transform the way their cultural organizations reach, engage, and educate their audiences using digital technologies.

You can read more in “A Brief History of the Museum Computer Network,” an article by former board members Marla Misunas and Richard Urban for the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences in 2007.

Leadership History

Members of the MCN Board of Directors have represented major institutions in the museum and cultural heritage sector. Institutional affiliation and other information listed below, and on the pages for each year’s full board, reflects the periods of service represented. As historical information, it is not updated to reflect current contact information.

Go to Current Board of Directors

MCN Presidents and Early Executive Leaders

Affiliation below is home institution at start of leadership term.

Liz Neely (Museum Digital Experience Professional), 2014-2015
Charlotte Sexton (Digital Media Consultant), 2013-2014
Allegra Burnette (The Museum of Modern Art), 2012-2013
Christina DePaolo (Balboa Park Online Collaborative), 2011-2012
Douglas Hegley (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), 2010-2011
Erin Coburn (J. Paul Getty Museum), 2009-2010
Rob Lancefield (Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University), 2008-2009
Cathryn Goodwin (Princeton University Art Museum), 2007-2008
Marla Misunas (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), 2005-2007
Sam Quigley (Harvard University Art Museums), 2003-2005
Chuck Patch (The Historic New Orleans Collection), 2002-2003
Len Steinbach (Cleveland Museum of Art), 2001-2002
Susan Patterson (St. Louis Museum of Art), 2000-2001
Susanne Warren (Clark Art Institute), 1999-2000
Richard Rinehart (Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive), 1998-1999
Guy Hermann (Mystic Seaport Museum), 1997-1998
Leslie Johnston (Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University Libraries), 1996-1997
Bob Leming (Philadelphia Museum of Art), 1995-1996
Diane Zorich, 1994-1995
Rachel Allen, 1993-1994
Kathy Jones Garmil, 1992-1993
Eleanor Fink, 1991-1992
[Executive Director:] Deirdre Stam, 1988-1991
Ron Kley [Acting President, 1986-1987], 1986-1988
David Vance, 1971-1985
[Director before incorporation:] Jack Heller, 1970-1971
[Director before incorporation:] Everett Ellin, 1967-1970

Annual Board Rosters

Board of Directors, 2012-2013
Board of Directors, 2011-2012
Board of Directors, 2010-2011
Board of Directors, 2009-2010
Board of Directors, 2008-2009
Board of Directors, 2007-2008
Board of Directors, 2006-2007
Board of Directors, 2005-2006
Board of Directors, 2004-2005
Board of Directors, 2003-2004
Board of Directors, 2002-2003
Board of Directors, 2001-2002
Board of Directors, 2000-2001
Board of Directors, 1999-2000
Board of Directors, 1998-1999
Board of Directors, 1997-1998
Board of Directors, 1996-1997
Board of Directors, 1995-1996