Looking to the past, seeing the future: MCN 1968

This #MCN50 post brought to you by Charles Zange

 

A year after its founding, MCN hosted its first major conference: “A Conference on Computers and their Potential Applications in Museums.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted the event, which was supported by a grant from IBM. Over three days in April, participants came together to discuss the future of technology and in so doing laid a foundation for decades of collaboration.

The attendee list was small. A total of 27 speakers signed up, most from New York but a few others joined from Oklahoma, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Toronto. Registration took place on Monday from 11:00-12:00. Sessions began that afternoon one at a time and continued through Wednesday. The Junior Museum Snack Bar was reserved for participants to take lunch. The conference concluded with dinner at the Met’s main restaurant.

Compared purely with the scope and scale of #MCN2016 in New Orleans, #MCN1968 was a minor affair: no parallel session tracks, no grand ballrooms, and no complimentary breakfast. The schedule was printed on plain paper with neither advertisement nor graphic. The san-serif font is black and white. Yet even at its small dimensions, #MCN1968 laid the foundation for many common elements of today’s conferences.

For example:

– “Demonstrations and Films of Computer Hardware and Applications.” Tuesday, 2:00-5:00PM – This precursor to the Exhibitor Hall provided a space for IBM to install and demonstrate technology for museum application. (The stars of the show were “Displays of visual equipment for microfilm and microfiche.)”

– “Documentary Applications.” Monday 1:30-5:00PM – Presenters were considering the best ways to create, organize, and analyze computerized records of collections systems – an ongoing need in collections management.

– “New Approaches in Museum Education.” Wednesday, 3:00-5:00PM – Attendees in this session responded to a presentation on “The Future of the Museum as a Learning Environment,” approaching a question that continues to face educators today.

The no-frills #MCN1968 experience calls back to the essence of the gathering itself: even from the beginning, MCN has always been an experimental mix of thought leaders and technology. It will be exciting to see where this energy can lead this year at #MCN50!

Below is the full schedule from #MCN1968. What was your first MCN conference? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Albright-Knox Art Gallery appoints new Director of Education & Community Engagement

jennifer-foleyThe Albright-Knox Art Gallery announced that Dr. Jennifer Foley has been appointed to the position of Director of Education and Community Engagement.

Dr. Foley brings a wealth of experience to the museum, having served in a number of key roles at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Humanities Council of Washington, DC, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Most recently, she held the position of Director of Interpretation at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where she managed the development of digital interpretive materials and multimedia content and oversaw the department’s myriad programming activities.

Jennifer is also a member of the #MCN2016 Program Planning Committee, congrats Jennifer!

http://www.albrightknox.org/news-and-features/press-releases/article:03-23-2016-albright-knox-appoints-new-director-of-education-strengthens-commitment-to-community-engagement/

 

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How museums learned to stop worrying and love the digital world

“How about a selfie with the Oracle of Delphi? Museums are targeting new audiences by embracing all forms of digital media.”

This article in the Star Tribune by Kirstin Tillotson quotes MCN Past President Douglas Hegley and highlights the work of current MCN Board member, Jane Alexander and MCN President Loic Tallon. Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the article!

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Illustration by Rob Dobi / Special to the Star Tribune

 

 

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Free use images in Museums

 

“Often when people visit museums, they leave wishing they could see a certain piece of art every day. Yale University’s art museums are making that easier.

Want Van Gogh’s “The Night Cafe,” owned by Yale University Art Gallery, as your desktop wallpaper? Download a high-res TIFF at artgallery.yale.edu. Want to post on your blog that J.M.W. Turner you saw at Yale Center for British Art? Download a TIFF at britishart.yale.edu.

On those websites, anyone is welcome to download public-domain artworks free of charge and use them any way they want, even if that usage is for-profit, such as the publication of a book.”

Click on the image to read this article recently published by the Hartford Courant with quotes from MCN Executive Director, Eric Longo as well as Intellectual Property SIG Chairs Melissa Fournier and John ffrench about free use images.

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AMA on Museums and Technology

Join past board member, Ed Rodley, past SIG Chair Emily Lytle-Painter and Michael Peter Edson for a Reddit AMA on Museums and Technology.

Click the image to view the archived conversation.Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 8.25.26 AM

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Technology in Museums – Museums + Heritage Advisor

MCN Executive Director, Eric Longo quoted in the below article:

“Digital technologies have radically transformed how we connect with each other, how we relate to the world, and how we conduct business,” says Longo. “We constantly use digital tools to perform daily tasks at home and at work. Not only do museums and cultural heritage sites not have a choice in whether or not to embrace this ‘new normal’, they owe it to the communities they serve to meet and engage them in a digital context.”

Technology in Museums: making the latest advances work for our cultural institutions

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