MCN 2016 Sessions – ‘We Are Going to Need a Bigger Boat’ Building Collaboration at the Philadelphia Museum of Art


We Are Going to Need a Bigger Boat’ Building Collaboration at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Friday, November 4, 2016 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Session Leader: William Weinstein, John H. McFadden and Lisa D. Kabnick Director of Information and Interpreti, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Co-Presenter: Christopher Atkins, The Agnes and Jack Mulroney Associate Curator of European Painting and Scul, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Co-Presenter: Joshhua Helmer, Assistant Director for Interpretation, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Co-Presenter: Ariel Schwartz, Kathy and Ted Fernberger Associate Director for Interactive Technology at t, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Co-Presenter: Jessica Milby, Assistant Director for Collection Information, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Many organizations are implementing strategic plans that rely on the increased use of digital tools in all aspects of their institution’s work. While each organization approaches this challenge differently, it is becoming clear that success depends on a fundamental change in how we work across our institutions. The reality is that doing this type of work requires learning how to truly collaborate/trust one another. How do you change institutional culture to embrace collaboration? How do you organize work around teams? How do you make sure everyone understands the bigger goals and works towards them? How do you get people to respect each other’s expertise? This panel will outline the methods that the Philadelphia Museum of Art is using to address these questions. Collaboration has become a key element in defining strategically aligned interpretative strategies, prioritizing projects, organizing content creation, establishing project teams and communicating with staff. It is hard work (and there are lots of sharks in the water) but we have found that the results are transformational . The panel will present several short case studies on how the museum plans, and manages cross-departmental digital interactive/interpretive projects. Bill Weinstein and Josh Helmer will present how digital thinking is being encouraged throughout the institution, Ariel Schwartz and Chris Atkins will discuss the Content Presentation and Interpretive Group (CPIG) a cross department group focusing curatorial staff on the challenges of creation interpretive content, Jessica Milby will discuss the Collections Information Committee Working Group which is responsible for aligning cataloging standards on interpretive goals. Attendees will get an overview of how collaboration works (and doesn’t) in a large organization and come away with strategies for change regardless of institution size.