#MCN50 Voices: Greg Albers & Susan Wigodner


This year MCN celebrates its 50th anniversary. Just as MCN has established a network of established and emerging professionals, #MCN50 Voices brings members together, old and new, near and far.


After chatting for half an hour, Susan Wigodner, Web & Digital Project Manager at The Field Museum, and Greg Albers, Digital Publications Manager at the J. Paul Getty Trust, felt like they hadn’t arrived a “formal” interview. Instead, here they offer their list of their favorite museum digital projects, tools, books, and more… (GIFs!)


Greg Susan
Title Digital Publications Manager, J. Paul Getty Trust Web & Digital Project Manager, The Field Museum
Project You’ve Worked On I came to the Getty at the tail end of our Virtual Library project, but it’s exactly the kind of thing I love about museums. Thinking big about serving the public. Free downloads of 300+ books? Not something most publishers can or would do. Audio tours for the 9/11 Memorial Museum. They include some pretty amazing personal stories, and I had a chance to meet many of those people (and a prep call with narrator Robert De Niro).
Open-Source Museum Project +1 to ACMI’s audio guide! →

We were excited to see that one particularly because they used Jekyll, a static site generator, and we’re using static site generators to publish online, multi-format books.

ACMI’s audio guide (Australian Centre for the Moving Image)
Museum Microsite The Art Institute of Chicago’s Linked Visions comes to mind. A nice use of D3.js, and they took advantage of open source by building off another project. Smart! It’s a little older now, but MoMA’s microsite for their 2015 Jacob Lawrence exhibition is one of my favorites.
Book You Keep at Your Office RESTful Web APIs and Publishing as Artistic Practice Content Everywhere, by Sara Wachter-Boettcher. I saw her speak a few months ago and am appreciating the perspective as we start a website redesign.
(Digital) Style Guide I’ve been looking at the web accessibility guides from 18F and Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh a lot this past year. Thankful for both. I second Greg ! And of course MailChimp’s if you haven’t checked that out already.  
Web Platform/App GitHub. (So intertwined in my work it took me a minute to realize it was a web platform/app I could cite for this!) Zapier – which lets me connect all my other favorite web platforms together! Also: Airtable.

My amazing colleague @amelialikespie, keeping me humble, Slacked this to me. If you have Slack and Giphy integration, you can make your own by typing: /giphy #echo WHATEVER WORDS YOU WANT

If I used only one social media site Twitter Instagram
Podcast On vacation road trips this summer, we’ve been listening to Brains On! with the kids. Our favorite episode? “Fart Smarts: Understanding the gas we pass”. Naturally. Startup often feels oddly relevant to my work in a 125-year-old museum.
Museum project I’m jealous of The New Museum’s NEW INC startup incubator. Crowdsourced visual descriptions for museum websites, like AMNH’s Project Describe. Also the Met’s born-digital map that’s being used across channels.
My best non-museum job Pottery Barn – a company that was intentional about management practices and staff development. And yes, the discount. The Container Store – great discount and working with fellow organization nerds! They also have a formalized and really ingrained company culture.
Top technical skill or tip Everyone knows about the inspector tool in browsers right? I didn’t soon enough and it was a revelation → Ctrl-click (mac) or right-click (pc) on anything in your browser window, and select “Inspect element” I recently learned how to take a full-page screenshot via the “inspect” function in Chrome and I’m really excited about it.
Pic of my phone homescreen

Default background, so sad. Also, not technically my homescreen, but the one I look at most.

Weird background is a photo taken at the Renwick Gallery’s Wonder exhibition

Weirdest thing you’ve done for a museum job Ha! I can’t compete → Dressed up in an inflatable T. rex costume for a birthday video for SUE
Favorite MCN moment That time I was shamed by a circle of six awesome #musetech nerds who simultaneously pulled out portable chargers from pockets and bags after I suggested I had to run to the room to recharge. Also, karaoke. All of the karaoke. Always. Convincing my boss, @badunn, to come to MCN 2015 in Minneapolis, and having him say “We have to bring the whole team to this next year!”



MCN 2016 Sessions – National Museum Website Visitor Motivation Survey: Findings and Applications

National Museum Website Visitor Motivation Survey: Findings and Applications

Thursday, November 3, 2016 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Session Leader: Martin Spellerberg, Developer, Spellerberg Associates
Speaker: Alli Burness, Experience Designer, ThinkPlace
Speaker: Susan Edwards, Associate Director, Digital Content, The Hammer Museum
Speaker: Jacques Haba, Digital Media Manager, Nasher Sculpture Center
Speaker: Jonathan Munar, Director of Digital Media and Strategy
Speaker: Tricia Robson, Assistant Director of Web and Digital Production
Speaker: Sarah Wambold, Clyfford Still Museum
Speaker: Jessica Warchall, Communications Manager, The Andy Warhol Museum

In 2015-16, cultural organizations across the United States, joined by partners in Canada and Australia, banded together to better understand museum website visitor motivation. This was not just a research study, but a community of museums looking to better understand their online audiences. The survey comprised a single question about what motivated users in going to the website that day. Focussing on identity-related motivations (rather than demographics or behaviors), the survey responses aligned with museum researcher John Falk’s Predictive Model for Museum Visitation—Explorer, Facilitator, Professional/Hobbyist, Recharger, and Seeker. Led by Sarah Wambold, Director of Digital Media at the Clyfford Still Museum, and Marty Spellerberg, of Spellerberg Associates, the project culls more than 16 weeks of data across 23 different museum websites. This is the first survey to utilize Falk’s framework online, the first focused primarily on small- and medium-sized organizations, and the first in the US to view the data in aggregate. The study provided representatives from participating museums the opportunity to discuss their findings, highlighting patterns that emerged across the various institutions. In order to facilitate those exchanges, professionals from each institution have met online using Slack, asking questions and sharing knowledge. In this forum we will bring this dialogue to life and the voices of MCN attendees into the conversation.




Tactical MCN

Guest post by MCN 2016 Scholar Emily Kotecki, Distance Learning Educator, North Carolina Museum of Art

MCN 2016 Keynote

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.


Axiell-MCN 2016 “Market Trends” survey

MCN is pleased to announce that Axiell partnered with MCN as its 2016 “Market Trends sponsor”. This gives Axiell the opportunity to develop an annual survey, whose findings will add new market intelligence to our sector in the form of a free industry report that will be shared throughout MCN’s community and Axiell’s customers.

Axiell is interested in knowing the predominant strategies that museums use to improve your collections data and to what degree your institution is leveraging volunteers and crowdsourcing. Leveraging volunteers and crowdsourcing are often lauded as solutions for addressing digitization backlogs, data cleaning and increasing the depth of data records.

However, this is often much more difficult than it sounds and comes with an inherent set of challenges. While some institutions make fantastic strides in this area, others struggle to get started.

If you’re interested in responding to the survey, use the info below:

Axiell MCN Survey post

The findings of the survey will be made available in a free report which will provide readers with insight into how different institutions use volunteers and crowdsourcing to improve their collections data; how different institutions prioritize this approach, how much progress has been made, what challenges are being faced and what solutions are being implemented. The report will be co-presented by Axiell and MCN.

The full report will include case studies and practical advice from successful programs, identify challenges and potential pitfalls and provide an overview of how the industry prioritizes volunteers and crowdsourcing.


MCNPro: Digital Publication and the OSCI Toolkit

Join the MCN Information Technology SIG for our next MCNPro on October 11th at 2pm EST!

The Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative has been an on-going program sponsored by the Getty Foundation for a decade. The IMA Lalogob has been a key partner in that program and as part of that, has designed and developed the OSCI Toolkit. The Toolkit is an open-source software project that has been used in the creation of scholarly as well as non-scholarly digital publications. IMA Lab will present a timeline of the initiative and a case study using the OSCI Toolkit, conduct a brief demonstration and instruction on the utilization of the OSCI toolkit, and facilitate conversation about the state of digital publishing. You can watch the session below by clicking on the Youtube viewer.



stuartStuart Alter, Director of Technology Strategy, Indianapolis Museum of Art

Stuart leads the technology efforts at the Indianapolis Museum of Art which includes oversight of both the IMA Lab and the internal IT department. Stuart has been leading innovative technology initiatives in industry, government, and the cultural sector. He is committed to the application of technology in the advancement of visitor experience and interaction in museums and other cultural institutions.


Illya Moskvin, Senior Software Developerillya

Illya is a self-taught software developer with a background in art history and archaeology. He is interested in classification, digital publishing, and software longevity.




anne-young-picAnne M. Young, Manager of Rights and Reproductions

Young has been with the Indianapolis Museum of Art since 2010 where she heads the rights and reproductions department. Young was formerly the photographic archivist for The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and worked for the Art Gallery of Ontario and George Eastman Museum. She received an M.A. in photographic preservation and collections management from Ryerson University and a B.A. in art history and studio art (photography) from Indiana University. Young is the current chair of the Rights and Reproductions Professional Practices committee of the Registrars Committee and the editor of the 2015 publication Rights & Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions.



Job Opening: MCN Digital Content & Community Manager

This position has been filled.

This announcement is for a part-time position (approximately 15 hrs/week) which may be extended to full-time in the future.

Start date: July 1
Term: Up to 1 year, may be extended
Pay: Up to $30/hr
Benefits: None, paid by incumbent
Location: Telecommute
Reports to: Executive Director
Consults with: Marketing Committee (primary), Other MCN Committees

About MCN
MCN is a nonprofit organization whose core purpose is to foster innovation and excellence by supporting professionals who seek to transform the way their cultural organizations reach, engage, and educate their audiences using digital technologies. We do this by building a community that attracts, nurtures, inspires and sustains exceptional professionals. Learn more.

Position Description
The Digital Content & Community Manager is a newly created position designed to improve the reach and engagement of MCN with the digital cultural heritage community. The primary goals of this position are to increase conference registration, to increase the number of people we reach online, and to deepen digital engagement between MCN and the community it aims to serve.

As the Digital Content & Community Manager, you will create, edit, coordinate, post, and manage content for MCN.edu and official online platforms, including social media. You will craft content to promote MCN offerings, announcements, and events including the annual conference (held in November), MCN Pro events, membership. You will coordinate a group of volunteers to assist with distribution of content on digital platforms. You will act as the point person for editorial policy and content management of mcn.edu, e-newsletters, MCN-L (listserv), social media channels, and mobile applications. You will also ensure consistent messaging and representation of the MCN brand across platforms.

Specific Duties:

  • Manage and maintain content on MCN.edu and other platforms, regularly review and update website with new or revised content, and respond quickly to content editing needs
  • Manage editorial process and content preparation for all public-facing content whether on MCN or external platforms
  • Hosts regular calls with individual Board committees to gather information about what needs to be marketed
  • Coordinate with marketing committee and social media volunteers regarding posts needed to promote conference, MCN Pro, etc.
  • Maintain an editorial calendar and produce content plans for upcoming events and activities.
  • Craft content for MCN-L to promote MCN activities and offerings
  • Produce regular e-mail newsletter
  • Proactively research content of value to the community for continuous distribution on all platforms, especially social media
  • Produce regular analytics reports about digital outreach performance
  • Identify trends and opportunities to increase reach and engagement

Skills & Experience Required:

  • Content writing/editing for website and social media engagement
  • Ability to manage and maintain a WordPress website, including layout and installation/configuration of new plugins
  • Ability to create and edit visual media assets (e.g., using Photoshop, etc.)
  • Demonstrated skills and experience with social media and community management on behalf of a brand or organization (i.e., post/share content, moderate/respond to comments, facilitate community discussion/interaction, etc.)
  • Knowledge of digital analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics) and ability to set goals, interpret/present findings, and make recommendations
  • Active in the cultural heritage community (museums, archives, libraries, etc.) and knowledgeable of trusted sources of information
  • Customer-service oriented
  • Proactive self-starter
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

This is a part-time telecommuting position requiring approximately 15 hours per week, plus on-site attendance at the annual conference in November. Substantial telephone and online availability during weekday business hours in North American time zones is expected. Salary is up to $30/hour, commensurate with experience, plus pre-approved expenses; no benefits. Cumulative salary shall not exceed $25k in 12 consecutive months. This is a one-year position, with the possibility of continuation (and/or increase in hours per week) if funding allows.

To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to: jobs@mcn.edu.


FREE MCN Pro Workshop – How to Store Images, Audio, and Video

“The Tangled Web: Organizing and Storing your Files”
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 from 2:00-3:00pm ET

Have you ever gotten tangled in a web of disorganized video and image files? Curious about the best practices for organizing and storing images, audio, and video? Or how to consider the difference between interpretive content and collections content? Want to know what constitutes a work of art and a backup work of art when discussing file types?

Anna Chiaretta-Lavatelli and Emily Lytle-Painter, co-chairs of MCN’s Media Production SIG, will explore issues around digital file storage and organization in cultural organizations in an informal “radio show” style chat with short “presentations” and Q&A.

This MCN Pro workshop is free and viewable on Google+ and YouTube.

Learn more about MCN Pro online workshops.