History

The history of MCN spans more than 50 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 As new technology superseded the original shared registration system, MCN evolved into a network of dedicated professionals wishing to improve their means of developing, managing, and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 1968, MCN has supported the dissemination of information about the use of computers in museum practice. MCN continues to foster innovation through growing the digital capacity of museum professionals by connecting them to each other, ideas, opportunities, resources, and effective practices.

You can read more in “A Brief History of the Museum Computer Network” (PDF) 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

Affiliations reflect home institution at start of leadership term.

  • Elizabeth Bollwerk (Thomas Jefferson Foundation), 2018-2019
  • Suse Anderson (George Washington University), 2017-2018
  • Carolyn Royston (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), 2016-2017
  • Loic Tallon (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), 2015-2016
  • Liz Neely (Harwood Museum of Art), 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