Elect SIG Chairs for 2019!

Each December, we ask the MCN community to elect the Chairs of our Special Interest Groups. SIGs, as we call them, are volunteer-led MCN members’ communities of practice that operate under the oversight of the MCN board and Executive Director. SIGs are organized around specific topics of interest or niche practice areas that reflect the diversity of the many technology and digital practices in the museum field (curious about how SIGs are governed? Read the SIG Charter).

These community led groups embody MCN’s grassroots’ history and the dynamism that drives the larger musetech community. Two new SIGs were created last year: Human-Centered Design SIG and IIIF SIG.

SIG Chairs are all volunteers with a passion for their work and for helping their colleagues and the community around their specific practice area and beyond. This year brings many changes with 12 SIG Chairs stepping down. On behalf of MCN, I’d like to thank them for their service and their work over the past years: Kristin Bayans, Christophe Buffet, Daniel Dennehy, Brad Dunn, John ffrench, Jennifer Foley, Melissa Fournier, Elissa Frankle Olinsky, Kurt Heumiller, Mandy Kritzeck, Jennifer Sellar and Elena Villaespesa.

As you review this year’s slate of candidates, you’ll notice 11 new faces, some familiar, some brand new, ready to lead your SIGs next year. Please take a moment to cast your vote now through December 15 and help support the leadership and future direction of our community.

ELECT YOUR SIG CHAIRS!

Headshot
Eric Longo
Executive Director, MCN
eric@mcn.edu

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Volunteer and Join the MCN Community!

The end of year is a busy time for everyone, but it’s a particularly busy time at MCN this year! Between now and early January, MCN offers a number of volunteer and professional development opportunities whose deadlines for application are fast approaching. Apply today to shape MCN and its programs, take advantage of professional development opportunities, expand your network, and add a line (or two) to your resume.

So to make sure you don’t miss that precious deadline, we’ve clarified all the available options!

MCN 2019 Mentorship Program

Application deadline: November 30, 2018 EXTENDED THRU DECEMBER 3, 2018 EOD
Program duration: 9 months (January-November 2019)
Openings: 20–24 spots for mentor/mentee pairs
Questions? Email: profdev@mcn.edu
InformationMentor Application | Mentee Application

Now in its third year, MCN’s mentorship program offers a unique professional development opportunity whether you are a veteran or a newbie in the museum tech community. Expand your professional network, build and grow leadership skills, practice personal communication strategies, and much more.

DEAI Advisory Board

Application deadline: December 1, 2018 EXTENDED THRU DECEMBER 3, 2018 EOD
Term: 1 year
Openings: 12–20
Questions? Email: diversity@mcn.edu
Information | Application

We’re assembling a new advisory board to focus on diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion at MCN. Members will meet on a quarterly basis to share their expertise, advise on DEAI policies, help prioritize strategic goals, and support new initiatives.

Conference Program Co-Chairs

Application deadline: December 16, 2018
Term: 2 years (2019-2020)
Openings: 2
Questions? Email: program@mcn.edu
Information & Application

Program Co-Chairs will provide leadership for the annual MCN Conference in 2019 and 2020, from sourcing members of the Program Committee to leading the conversation around a theme for the annual conference to developing general topic guidelines and organizing and scheduling a range of creative formats from workshops, to panels and presentations.

2019 Conference Program Committee members

Application deadline: January 12, 2019
Term: 9 months (January-November 2019)
Openings: ~40
Questions? Email: program@mcn.edu
Information & Application

Under the leadership of the Program Co-Chairs, the Program Committee helps establish the conference theme and identify a keynote speaker. Committee members also review between 10-15 proposal submissions according to a variety of criteria designed to ensure quality, expertise, innovation and a fair representation of different perspectives and voices, especially from communities that are traditionally under-represented or minorities to ensure that the program of the annual conference reflects the diversity of the MCN community and the extended musetech community.

Wait, there’s more …

SIG Chairs Annual Elections

Application deadline: November 28, 2018
Online Elections: December 1-15, 2018
Term: 9 months (January-November 2019)
Openings: 12
Questions? Email: sigs@mcn.edu
Information

MCN members can join SIGs for free, and elections to elect SIGs’ chairs and co-chairs are held annually from December 1 through 15, 2018. If interested, ask SIG chairs.

Share you IT/digital skills to help improve MCN’s digital platforms!

Application deadline: December 15, 2018
Term: 12 months (January-December 2019)
Openings: 5-10+
Questions? Email: tech@mcn.edu
Application

MCN is calling out to all the tech/digital nerds out there to put their talent to work by contributing their time and effort, including product/tool research and assessment, coding, strategy, communications and writing, to improve MCN’s digital platforms so you can be a part of the greater sum of all of us by supporting MCN’s new strategic objective “[To] transform MCN’s online presence into a powerful and intuitive user-centered destination”.

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MCN’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, & Inclusion

 

Post by MCN Board Member, Desi Gonzalez

MCN 2017 keynote crowd photo with Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion overlaid text.

One of the things I’ve found to be special about the MCN community is that it’s made up of people who are genuinely interested in building inclusive museum technologies for diverse audiences. You can see this grassroots energy each year at the annual conference, where sessions titles such as “Accessible, Inclusive, Digital Design” and “Taking Action on Inclusion” feel right at home. Over the last year, a small working group has been meeting regularly to investigate how we might be able to weave this culture of equity and inclusion into the organizational fabric of MCN. We began by conducting research into proven practices in diversity and inclusion in peer organizations, as well as examining areas in which our own organization can grow.

 

Today, I’m thrilled to publicly announce MCN’s commitment to holistically reexamining all of its programs, practices, and policies from the lens of equity and inclusion. We’ve developed a statement that describes this commitment. We back up the statement with definitions that outline what we mean when we say we value things like diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI). This area is so important to us that we made “Embed diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in everything we do” one of the five pillars in our new 2019–2021 strategic plan.

 

The work MCN has done in the past has come from a good place, but it’s been piecemeal and primarily focused on the annual conference. A few years ago, we implemented a Friendly Space Policy, establishing shared guidelines for making the conference a safe and respectful place for all attendees. Through our scholarship program, we are able to offer financial support to attend the conference for individuals who Identify as part of a group that is traditionally underrepresented or otherwise marginalized.

 

MCN is much more than a just conference, and thus our future DEAI efforts will extend much further. Over the next few years, we hope to pilot professional development opportunities and programming that critically address the role of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in museum technology. We plan to examine how we might be able to institute more equitable recruitment as well as provide support or compensation for people who contribute their time and labor to the organization; this includes but is not limited to MCN Board Members, Conference Program Chairs, SIG Chairs, conference presenters and attendees, scholarship recipients, and volunteers. And finally, we want to support the wonderful DEAI organizing that is already happening within our museum technology community.

 

Of course, diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion work is never complete—it’s not something that we can check off a box and say we’re done after a three-year strategic plan. Additionally, it’s not something that only a small group can accomplish; it requires input from our whole community.

 

We’d like to invite you to take part in our DEAI efforts. We’re forming an advisory board that will meet on a quarterly basis to share their expertise and help prioritize strategic goals. We hope to select 12 to 20 members who represent wide-ranging dimensions of diversity, with an eye towards giving voice to underrepresented groups. For our organization, diversity means a lot of things. Advisors will represent groups that are historically marginalized or excluded due to race, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, economic background, and age. We’re also looking for members from a wide range of cultural institutions and professional roles, considering dimensions such as subject matter expertise, organization size, and stage in career.

 

Applications are due December 1, so submit yours now!

 

And whether or not you join the advisory board, we’d like to hear from you about how MCN can foster inclusion and equity within the organization. Another pillar in our new strategic plan is to identify opportunities for, connect with, and involve all of our members who want to contribute to work going on within our organization.

 

To learn how you can be involved, or to share any questions or concerns regarding DEAI at MCN, please contact diversity@mcn.edu. Additionally, we encourage you to swing by our annual conference session MCN Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: Where are we, and where are we headed?, where you can voice how you’d like to see DEAI initiatives go in the future.

 

Headshot of Desi Gonzalez, MCN Board Member

Desi Gonzalez, MCN Board Member

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Announcing MCN 2019-2021 Strategic Plan: Achieving impact through inclusion, innovation, and community building

 

Updated mission and vision statements, summer 2018

  • To grow the digital capacity of museum professionals by connecting them to ideas, information, opportunities, proven practices, and each other.
  • A world in which all museums are empowered digitally to achieve their missions.

 

We’re pleased to announce MCN’s new three-year strategic plan (2019-2021), which was developed following a productive and energetic strategic retreat with the full board in Washington, DC this past June.

Board strategic retreat June 2018

Three years ago, in June 2015, the then-board of MCN convened in Princeton, NJ to develop a 3-year strategic plan: “Celebrating 50 Years: Advancing Transformation & Innovation in Museums” (2016-2018). MCN had operated without a formal strategic plan for roughly five years, and it had become necessary to get back on track.

The four-page document was intentionally brief: it cast a vision around five strategic priorities each with a set of non-exhaustive success criteria designed to give future board members buy-in, agency, and creativity to develop a series of tactical tasks under each of the plan’s larger objectives. These tactical tasks were documented in three successive annual “Work Plans” that also served as a tool to track progress. Much was accomplished over the past three years: increasing year-round professional development opportunities with the launch of MCN’s mentorship program (now in its second year), growing the SIGs, and improving MCN’s governance and operations, culminating in 2017 with the celebration of MCN’s 50th anniversary, which galvanized our community and resulted in many inspiring community-led projects such as MCN50 Voices.

Going into this year’s strategic development process, we started by looking at what was achieved and what wasn’t, before identifying the most urgent challenges and risks that MCN currently faces. We found ourselves asking many of the same questions we had three years earlier: What is MCN’s core purpose? How do we best serve the needs of our community? How do we ensure that we have adequate resources to support and deliver on our mission? And perhaps, more fundamentally, how do we ensure MCN’s long-term sustainability?

To respond to these questions, we developed five key strategic priorities to focus MCN’s work and frame our decision-making from 2019 through 2021:

  1. Mobilize members of the MCN community
  2. Refine our products and value
  3. Achieve long-term sustainability
  4. Transform MCN’s online platforms
  5. Embed diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in everything we do

Lastly, in spite of many recent improvements in governance and operational principles that give MCN the support it needs to run effectively, we noticed a few issues calling for our attention. Among them, a lack of continuity in the transfer of institutional memory from outgoing to incoming board members, at a time when the former’s knowledge and experience are at their peak. So the Governance Committee will look at ways to remedy those issues.

Since its beginnings, MCN has been, and remains today more than ever, a community organization. The work invested behind the scenes to strengthen MCN is only driven by our desire to serve the needs of our community and to support each an everyone of you throughout your professional lives in museums. This next strategic plan is designed to grow MCN’s capacity to deliver on its mission so all museums are empowered digitally to achieve theirs.

Eric Longo
Executive Director

MCN 2019-2012 Strategic Plan

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Heads up! Limited Early Bird tickets this year

This year we are changing our Early Bird ticket allotment to make it more predictable.

Starting with MCN 2018, only a limited number of Early Bird tickets will be available.

Predicting conference attendance is difficult and affects MCN’s ability to make reliable financial projections. One of the ways we believe we can have a better handle on this is by limiting the number of Early Bird tickets available.

Registration opens on June 28 with 150 Early Bird tickets up for grabs on a first-come, first-served basis until sold out or July 31, whichever comes first.

MCN remains committed to providing the best conference experience your money can buy at a price point we can all live with (conference fees). We look forward to seeing you in Denver in November.

Eric Longo, Executive Director

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Meet the 2018 SIG Chairs

Thank you for participating in the 2017 Annual SIG Chairs Elections. Join me in congratulating each one of our SIG Chairs.

Eric Longo, Executive Director

 

Digital Asset Management

  • Chair: Susan Wamsley, Digital Asset Manager, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

image015I have worked for over ten years in the field of digital asset management setting up DAM systems from analog photography libraries for global companies. In my current role, I work closely with all museum departments to facilitate digital media asset submissions into the museum DAM system. Following the museum’s archival and metadata standards, I ensure the integrity and reliability of the information in the system and provide support to all users. I also research and provide recommendations on best practices for software, asset preservation and digital rights management. I have encountered and solved many implementation, workflow and user adoption issues over the years and am excited to share my knowledge.

  • Co-Chair: Jennifer Sellar, Senior Digital Image Archivist, The Museum of Modern Art

Jennifer Sellar headshotJennifer Sellar began her archiving career at Ole Miss working with a large collection of Southern photography and home movies. At the Museum of Modern Art, she was hired to organize the Imaging Studio’s archive and create an archival workflow for the department’s photographers. When she arrived the archive was still stored on CDs and searchable only through an enormous Excel spreadsheet. Since the launch of MoMA’s DAM in 2008, she has overseen day to day front end operations and works across various departments throughout the museum to create metadata/taxonomy structures and create guidelines for the museum’s quickly expanding digital trove of images, video, audio, and related materials.

Digital Imaging

  • Chair: Dan Dennehy, Senior Photographer and Head of Visual Resources, Minneapolis Institute of Art

image032As Senior Photographer and Head of Visual Resources at Minneapolis Institute of Art, I lead a department responsible for collection imaging, digital asset management and image rights issues. As a member of Mia’s Media and Technology Division, I have the pleasure of working with a creative team of makers and developers dedicated to finding the most innovative ways of bringing our collections and communities together. It has never been a more exciting time to be involved with art and imaging, as new computational techniques revolutionize our practice. I would be honored to help lead the efforts of MCN’s Digital Media SIG in facilitating dialogue around our current and future challenges.

  • Co-Chair: Kurt Heumiller, Studio Production Manager, The Museum of Modern Art

image030As studio production manager for the department of Imaging and Visual Resources at the Museum of Modern Art, Kurt Heumiller is responsible for ensuring the highest image quality, developing workflow improvements, and evaluating new and emerging technologies and methods. Having spent nearly a decade in the museum imaging world, he feels blessed to work in a field with such talented and dedicated members and wishes to help MCN provide a resource for this community.

 

Strategy

  • Chair: Brad Dunn, Web and Digital Communications Director, The Field Museum

Brad Dunn headshotBrad is the Web and Digital Communications Director for The Field Museum in Chicago, overseeing web and mobile experiences, and storytelling in social media and science filmmaking. His experience blends his time in interactive, games, social media and experiential design, stage directing, filmmaking and advertising. He has crafted user- and story-driven multichannel engagements across digital devices and real world spaces for exuberant live audiences, smartphone wielding consumers, smiling children, intoxicated cruise ship passengers, and upper eastside arts funders. The common thread is his desire to tell stories and create experiences that inspire and encourage human connection and personal discovery.

  • Co-Chair: Mark McKay, Director of Digital, Art Gallery of Ontario

Mark McKay headshotMark leads a 10 person division made up of 3 departments. Responsible for developing and executing an action plan in support of the AGO’s Technology Strategy. Google Analytics and Adwords certified content marketer. 12 years experience creating branded content and more than 7 years leading corporate digital and social media strategy. Trained in Project Management and Business Analysis. Eleven years of experience in the entertainment industry. Hands on advanced production knowledge of web development, design, video, and animation set me apart from my peers.

Educational & Interpretive Media

  • Chair: Jennifer Foley, Director of Education and Community Engagement, Albright-Knox Art Gallery

image018Jennifer Foley is the Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY. In this role she oversees all of the museum’s educational programs, as well as the development of educational and interpretive media content, including audio tours, exhibition media, and the museum’s artist interview series, Outspoken. Prior to coming the A-K she was the Director of Interpretation at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where she worked on numerous media projects, including content development for the museum’s collection app, ArtLens. She has been attending MCN since 2011, and signed on for a two year term as one of the program co-chairs for MCN2016 in New Orleans and MCN2017 in Pittsburgh.

  • Co-Chair: Kristin Bayans, Manager of Interpretive Media, Portland Art Museum

Kristin BayansAs Manager of Interpretive Media at the Portland Art Museum Kristin is a connector, producer, and storyteller. She works to diversify the museum narrative by interrupting the single authoritative voice with the voices and perspectives of Portland’s many communities. She accomplishes this by crafting inquiry based in-gallery and online participatory experiences linking visitors to each other, the museum’s permanent collection, and special exhibitions. At PAM, Kristin also drives initiatives grounding the museum to its city through intimate, personal community based story work with the Object Stories storytelling project and exhibition series. Ms. Bayans has served on NEH and IMLS grant review committees, spoken at national conferences, lead workshops, and published on the subjects of digital storytelling, developing participatory spaces for dialogue and reflection, and the visitor empowerment model among others. Immediately prior to PAM, she served as Senior Educator for the Vernier Technology and Design Lab at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and as an Assistant Educator for the Smithsonian’s Mobile Learning Institute. She holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from The George Washington University and an M.A. in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Kristin is passionate about the unique role museums can play as social justice advocates for their cities communities.

Information Technology

  • Chair: Janice Craddock, Director of Information Technology, Amon Carter Museum of American Art

image010As Director of Information Technology, Janice heads a department of three to provide technical support for about 120 staff. In her thirty years at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, she has seen firsthand how technology has changed, evolving into an increasingly vital role supporting the institutional mission—a change she has also witnessed during her twenty years involved with MCN. As IT SIG chair, Janice’s aim is to support new IT professionals and engage those with more experience in ongoing conversations about the fundamentals of IT operations and emerging technologies.

  • Co-Chair: Brian Dawson, Chief Digital Officer, Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation

image012Brian is the Chief Digital Officer at the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, which also operates the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.  As CDO, Brian drives the development and implementation of the strategy for digital platforms, content, distribution and engagement throughout the organization, leading a team of information technology, digital media and exhibition specialists. Prior to joining the museum, Brian worked at Nortel Networks in telephony software development and process improvement. Brian holds a Bachelor of Computer Science from the Dalhousie University (Technical University of Nova Scotia) and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Cape Breton. Brian is keen to help keep connections alive and conversations going through the year, with a regular rhythm of topic discussions, leverage tools such as the Basecamp platform more fully, and sounding out the SIG on additional ideas.

Intellectual Property 

  • Chair: Melissa Gold Fournier, Manager Imaging services and IP, Yale Center for British Art

image004At the Yale Center for British Art, Melissa oversees digital imaging, manages the Center’s intellectual property and rights-related collection information, and serves as the lead for the Center’s participation in Yale’s shared digital asset management system.  Melissa served as the convener of Yale University’s Open Access Implementation Working Group and oversees the online release of the Center’s open images.  A museum collection professional since 1998, Melissa was grateful to find in MCN a superb resource for discussion and education around digitization and intellectual property.  She has volunteered for MCN in various capacities since attending her first conference in Boston in 2005. Working with the IP SIG, Melissa wishes to help MCN continue to provide these opportunities to others.

  • Co-Chair: John ffrench, Director of Visual Resources, Yale University Art Gallery

image002John oversees workflow, design, color management and long-term archiving of images and image data and supervises the creation, quality control, asset management, distribution of and rights related to images of works of art for publication, study, documentation, educational programs, promotion and other uses. He has been actively involved in the development of the YUAG/Yale Campus DAM and the creation of Yale University’s Open Access policy. He also oversees the rights and reproductions staff responsible for clearing rights for internal publications and publicity campaigns at YUAG. On campus he founded and leads the Digital Coffee Group, a campus-wide organization established to create core standards, develop resources and provide guidance and support for digital imaging related technology, projects and professionals on campus. I am interested in working with the IP-SIG as I feel I have a sense of how these issues touch all of our work in museums.

Media Production & Branding

  • Chair: Mandy Kritzeck, Digital Media Producer & Project Manager, The Corning Museum of Glass

Mandy Kritzeck headshotMandy Kritzeck is the Digital Media Producer and Project Manager at The Corning Museum of Glass. Working with an in-house digital media production team, she produces over 150 videos a year for both internal and external audiences including artist profiles, live-streamed demonstrations, lectures, conservation case studies, marketing videos, and docent trainings. Mandy manages the museum’s popular YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/corningmuseumofglass, which shares a mix of informational glass how-to demos and interviews with artists who work in glass. She has contributed to many digital media projects at the Corning Museum including the GlassApp web app, GlassLab web app and Pyrex Potluck website. She received an M.A. in History Museum Studies from The Cooperstown Graduate Program and a B.A. in American History, Museum Studies and Documentary Journalism from the University of Minnesota. Her prior experience includes the Minnesota Historical Society and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Find her on Twitter at @mkritzeck.

  • Co-Chair: Christophe Buffet, Creative Technologist and Digital Content Producer

Christophe BuffetChristophe has been producing digital content since 2004 for a variety of museums and institutions such as MASP (São Paulo Museum of Art), The São Paulo Art Biennial, the Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Monumenta, Bozar, The National Gallery or the British Museum. He helps cultural organizations define their digital strategy and content production methodology, select and set-up mobile interpretation and accessibility solutions.

Data & Insights

  • Chair: Elena Villaespesa, Assistant Professor, Pratt Institute

Elena VillaespesaElena Villaespesa works as an Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute. Her research and teaching areas include: digital strategy, digital analytics, and user experience methods applied to the cultural and museum sector. Her professional career encompasses an international experience in some of the most prestigious museums in the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Tate in the United Kingdom and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Spain, where she has served in leading digital producer and data analyst roles.

Elena holds a M.A. in Arts Management and a Ph.D. in Digital Heritage from the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester. Her dissertation defines a performance measurement framework that may serve as a tool for museums to evaluate the success of their activities on social media. As part of her PhD research she worked in the action research project led by Culture 24 Let’s get real. Tate is the main case study for this research and as part of this collaboration she became a Tate Honorary Research Fellow 2015-17.

Elena will be looking to appoint a volunteer to join her as SIG co-chair during 2018.

Social Media

  • Chair: Alexis Light, Senior Manager of Media Relations and Marketing, The Frick Collection

Alexis LightAlexis Light is currently the Senior Manager of Media Relations and Marketing at The Frick Collection, where she has worked since 2007. Throughout her tenure at the museum, she has been deeply involved in the role social media has played in shaping the voice of the institution and how it is used to communicate to its various audiences. As Social Media SIG chair, she hopes to strengthen our community of members, continue an open dialogue between colleagues, and evaluate strategies for ongoing cross-institutional collaboration through social. She received an M.A. in Modern Art, Connoisseurship and the History of the Art Market from Christie’s, New York, and a B.A. from Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri. She has been actively participating in MCN since 2015.

Alexis will be looking to appoint a volunteer to join her as SIG co-chair during 2018.

 

In addition, the board of MCN has approved the creation of a new SIG called “Human-Centered Design SIG“, which will aim to foster conversations in the MCN community and beyond about who we serve, how to understand their needs, and the role that museums can and should play in the broader human community.

Human-Centered Design SIG

  • Chair: Elissa Frankle Olinsky, Senior User Experience Researcher, Ad Hoc LLC

Elissa FrankleElissa Frankle Olinsky is a DC-based Senior User Experience Researcher at Ad Hoc LLC, where she works with the US Digital Service at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to help build websites with Veterans’ needs in mind. Prior to joining Ad Hoc, Elissa spent nine years at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, where she worked on social media, ethical leadership training, public programs with Holocaust survivors, citizen history, and the online and in-person visitor experience — sometimes all at the same time. When not working with Veterans, she can be found advocating for paid internships and better signage in museums. Elissa holds an AB in German from Princeton University and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education from The George Washington University.

  • Co-Chair: Seema Rao, Principal, Brilliant Idea Studio

Seema Rao head shotSeema Rao runs the consulting firm, Brilliant Idea Studio, LLC, based in Cleveland, Ohio, working with museums, libraries, and non-profits to improve experiences at their sites. Seema has nearly 20 years of museum experience including leading large teams of educators, developing ground breaking interpretation, and implementing successful technology projects. She holds an MLIS/MS in Information Science and User Experience Design from Kent State University as well as a MA in Art History from Case Western Reserve University.

 

 

Not part of a SIG? Want to be? Click on the SIG links above and you’ll find a signup form on each SIG’s page, you can join as many SIGs as you like!

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Looking back to move forward: Museum technology in the age of the BIG data

By Dr. Natalia Grincheva, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

 

This audio blog is a series of short interviews collected from several speakers at the 2017 MCN conference, both academics and professionals while I was an MCN Scholarship recipient. They include brief conversations with former board members, newcomers to the conference, and those who already got addicted to the annual meetings of a unique cohort of enthusiastic museum professionals from the U.S. and beyond.

Each speaker was challenged with three key questions:

First, I asked them to share details from their conference presentations and highlight the most important takeaways from the projects they are currently involved in. A wide spectrum of projects ranged from developing hands-on museum apps and designing new interactive experiences across physical and digital worlds to reimagining what innovation means for contemporary museums.

Second, interviewees elaborated on how their projects fit with the current environment of museum technology, increasingly and rapidly moving towards a closer and more strategic engagement with “big data.” Even though big data and cultural analytics have a strong impact on how museums approach their tasks in enlarging audiences, entering new markets, improving access, and deepening engagement, a wide range of responses from different speakers interrogate the meaning and value of the “big data” in relation to creating eloquent museums experiences and establishing connections with key communities.

Finally, speakers sent their personal messages and birthday wishes to the MCN community celebrating this year the 50th anniversary of the network. Each speaker has a unique perspective, a distinct voice, and tons of positive energy to share with the rest of the MCN members.

If you missed the conference or want to get more details on some topics discussed during the 2017 MCN sessions, this is your chance! Enjoy!

 

Angie Judge, CEO, Dexibit

Session: Money, Data, and Power:

A Review of Museum Use Cases with Big Data Analytics

“It is great to see that the museum industry is moving towards the space where it’s becoming more informed and more aware and more purposeful in how it acts with data in its hands… ”
Listen the Interview on SoundCloud (2.52 min)

Kubi Ackerman, Project Director, Future City Lab
Museum of the City of New York

Session: Designing the Future:

Creating an Interactive Gallery on the Future of New York City

“the lab is extremely data intensive… we wanted to have a big picture approach that really emphasizes how this information directly relates to experience of the city…”

Listen the Interview on SoundCloud (4 min)

 

Ed Rodley, Associate Director of Integrated Media, Peabody Essex Museum

Session: Break Out of the Rut: Fresh Strategies for Innovative Projects

“there is nothing that digital doesn’t touch and probably disrupt…so, being able to do that in a way that is productive, rather than disruptive is the challenge that we are all facing…”

Listen the Interview on SoundCloud(2.41 min)

 

Neville Vakharia, Assistant Professor and Research Director

Drexel University, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Session: Beyond the Graphing Calculator:
A Deep Dive into Data Visualization and Cultural Institutions

“When you take data and when you create a tool that is useful for a particular audience then when you really have an impact.”
Listen the Interview on SoundCloud (3.16 min)

Nancy Proctor, Executive Director, Museweb

Session: The Access App

“Even though we call it crowdsourcing, in the end of the day what we end up doing is community sourcing…”

Listen the Interview on SoundCloud (4.29 min)

 

Nicole Riesenberger, University of Maryland-Phillips Collection Postdoctoral Fellow in Virtual Culture, The Phillips Collection

Session: Collaborations That Work:
Designing Effective and Inclusive Academic Partnerships in Museums

“…students are exploring location aware mobile apps to help visitors to navigate through the museum and discover interesting works of art that they want to see during their visit.”

Listen the Interview on SoundCloud (4.06 min)

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Seeing Myself in the Museum Community

By Monique LassereDigital Preservation Librarian, University of Arizona Libraries

 

As a first-time attendee and black librarian, I did not know what to expect at MCN2017. I had applied to the MCN Scholarship Program with the dream that I, an outsider, would be able to experience the museum computing community for a brief period of time. In no way did I expect my application to be accepted. I thought, what would my projects have in common with the other applicants—actual museum professionals and scholars? I arrived with an open mind and quickly realized my preconceptions about MCN and the conference were wrong. From the resonating keynote by three black innovators and thinkers in museums, history, and journalism, to the conversations surrounding agile software development to the wide array of projects the MCN Scholars presented on, I saw myself and the work I do in the community I was lucky to meet in Pittsburgh.

The conference kicked off with an inspiring, heavy-hitting keynote on diversity, representation, and hiring practices by Aleia Brown, Adrianne Russell, and Jamil Smith. At once, I saw and heard all the issues my colleagues in libraries so often talk about, the practices that are talking points for many but real issues for some, being discussed. We, in the academic community, often talk about giving power and voices to those not usually given it, about the importance of seeing yourself as a person of color in the spaces you inhabit or would like to, but this rarely happens. Finally, on stage, at MCN2017 I saw this in action.

Organizational culture continued to be a theme throughout the conference–in particular the issues of management, leadership, and methodologies for developing software. I recently started a new position in which I act as a product owner for software being developed as a part of our larger digital collections & preservation landscape. It’s a new experience for me–as it is for many libraries. To my surprise, there were a handful of incredibly dynamic conversations and presentations on leadership and agile software development, project management theory, and leadership as praxis. It was a great way to learn about what others are doing and get some comfort from the fact that we aren’t alone.

On the second to last day, the MCN Scholars presented our projects and my cohort’s work blew me away. One work I connected to in particular was Castle Kim’s work with the ESCAPE initiative, a program that integrates arts and science education and performing arts to enhance learning. It resonated to me as a poor-performing math and science student in junior high and captivated me by its creativity and collaborative efforts to think outside the box and engage with students. That’s the power of museum professionals, and further, the power of the MCN Scholars.

 

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MCN: It’s all about the people

Ben Fast (@benfaster),

Programs & Member Services Coordinator, BC Museums Association

 

 

MCN is all about the people. Dont get me wrong, the learning experiences available from the remarkably diverse sessions and the fun times visiting local museums and galleries are great, but it all comes down to who you meet.

From Day 1 it was easy to tell that MCN was centred on the people. Whether they knew you or only sort of knew you (hey, I know you from Twitter), MCN attendees were friendly and welcoming.

As a first timer from north of the border, sitting down with or taking an elevator with people from the Guggenheim, Smithsonian, or Getty (who each have staff larger than most BC towns) provided great opportunities to talk museums and learn about new trends from the people at the cutting edge. They are the gods of the Twittersphere, those names you see on blogs and that you think must be so much smarter and more capable than you. Or who at least have bigger budgets.

Being an MCN Scholar gave me the opportunity to meet these people who seemed so distant from my experience and professional context. It was the people themselves, however, whose genuine interest and friendliness revealed more commonalities and shared passions than I ever believed possible. And they sing just out of tune at karaoke, who knew?!

The 2017 MCN Scholar group was no different, 14 other museum professionals whose passion and innovation astounded me but whose friendliness helped create what Im sure will become long-lasting professional connections.

As an MCN Scholar, I also had the chance to meet with many MCN Board members whose encouragement and interest made us Scholars feel like an important part of the conference.  Thank you for supporting us in our presentations—it was great to see some of you in the crowd—and for supporting this meaningful scholarship.

At MCN we met our idols, we made our friends, and we were inspired.  And yes: we will be back!

Some MCN Scholars (and Marilyn Monroe) toasting MCN’s 50th at the Andy Warhol Museum.

Some MCN Scholars (and Marilyn Monroe) toasting MCN’s 50th at the Andy Warhol Museum.

 

The 2017 MCN Scholars meeting up for our first (of many) group photos. It was great to have a group of like-minded first-timers who also had to present and were also loving every minute of conference!

The 2017 MCN Scholars meeting up for our first (of many) group photos. It was great to have a group of like-minded first-timers who also had to present and were also loving every minute of conference!

 

Getting ready for our MCN Scholar Lightning Talks. Our group was so large we needed to rotate through the presenters’ table, but it made it look like there were lots of keep attendees right up in the front row. Can you spot some MCN staff and board members in the background? Thank you for coming and hearing our presentations - it was great to have your support!

Getting ready for our MCN Scholar Lightning Talks. Our group was so large we needed to rotate through the presenters’ table, but it made it look like there were lots of keep attendees right up in the front row. Can you spot some MCN staff and board members in the background? Thank you for coming and hearing our presentations – it was great to have your support!

 

Celebrating the end of our MCN scholarship talks with a trip to the Mattress Factory’s 40th anniversary party. Here some of us are in a roof selfie in the Kusama exhibit. Thanks MCN for putting us friends together and offering us such interesting cultural experiences too!

Celebrating the end of our MCN scholarship talks with a trip to the Mattress Factory’s 40th anniversary party. Here some of us are in a roof selfie in the Kusama exhibit. Thanks MCN for putting us friends together and offering us such interesting cultural experiences too!

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Eye Opening Inspiration

By Kat Quigley, (@kathryncquigley)

Senior Producer and New Media Lead, Lawrence Hall of Science

 

 

Attending MCN this year as a Scholar was not what I expected—and that’s because I really didn’t know what to expect. MCN 2017 was my first time attending a museum conference of any kind. Although I’ve been working at a museum for 5+ years, my work has mainly focused on our science curriculum efforts. In the last six months I’ve been shifting to the museum floor and when the MCN Scholarship opportunity came on my radar, I jumped at the chance to learn more.

My first impression of the conference was just how down-to-earth and friendly everyone was. The senior level people I sat next to at my Tuesday workshop Digital Storytelling for Museums  made a point to introduce themselves and make me feel welcomed. I was also struck by the depth of community that’s been grown. By day two, MCN felt familiar—the closest thing I can compare it to was the feeling I had going away to summer camp as a kid. I even sang with two other MCN folks at an open mic one night! But if MCN is camp, then it’s a camp full of genius do-gooders ready to tackle systemic problems and questions with the gusto that makes me think real change is actually possible.

Left to right: Ben Fast, Kat Quigley, Jessica Miller

Left to right: Ben Fast, Kat Quigley, Jessica Miller

Finally, I really couldn’t get over how directly relevant so many of the sessions were to the exact projects I had waiting back home on my desk. For example, I am working with a group of UC Berkeley students on making a VR learning simulation about fin whales…there was a session License to Krill where the Royal Ontario Museum shared their experience making video game about blue whales! Even the things that seemingly didn’t relate to my particular work stream, like chatting with businesses helping with museum asset management, were eye opening and helped me get a more holistic picture of the museum ecosystem.

I came to MCN a little nervous and slightly pessimistic about my career options and left with new friends and a fresh perspective on the museum world. A few weeks out and I am still glowing with gratitude for the opportunity to experience this wonderful community and hope to continue for years to come.

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