The Future of Museum Technology
Friday, November 4, 2016 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Session Leader : Chad Weinard, Independent Technologist + Strategist, Independent
Co-Presenter : Jason Alderman, Experience Designer, Cloud Chamber / Balboa Park Online Collaborative
What technology will we need in order to realize the human-centered museum? The shift in conversation toward global issues, community engagement and broad organizational strategies gives the impression that “technology” is a solved problem. It’s not. Our technology (especially in small and midsize museums) can’t support our current organizations, much less the museums we envision for the future. And many times, in migrating museums to newer technology, we’re embracing technologies that are common among other museums, but already considered legacy within industry—technologies that are handicapped from the get-go. Collections management, DAMS, CRM, membership, ticketing, web publishing, social and email management, internal communications and collaboration…most museums’ systems architecture is the product of short-term, ad-hoc planning and organizational dysfunction. Our current systems often reinforce organizational silos and hinder collaboration, transparency, sharing, innovation. What would it look like to create systems architectures that promote—even require—organizational tranformation? We’ll investigate this question in a series of interviews and collaborative whiteboard sessions with leaders and practitioners from across the sector, then organize and share the results in this forum. In doing so, we’ll look at trends in industry to question our current practices. Slack vs. email? Cloud vs local storage? WordPress vs Drupal? Build or buy? Commercial or open-source? In-house or contracted? Specific decisions affect the organization. We’ll take a candid look at the digital infrastructure needed to support the collections, experiences, engagement and education programs we envision. In many organizations, museum technologists now take on the role of change agent, organizational strategist, community engager, staff trainer, in-gallery experience designer, and others. Systems architecture is well within our purview. It’s time we embraced it.