MCN Blog

Photo Caption: Application to redesign Griphos, 1981

MCN receives transformational capacity building grant from Knight Foundation

I am delighted to announce that MCN (Museum Computer Network) has just received a 2-year, $211,000 capacity building grant from the Knight Foundation to respond to the evolving technology and digital needs of museum professionals as the sector moves through an unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Knight support will advance our mission to grow the digital capacity of museum professionals who seek to transform the way their museums reach, engage and educate their audiences using digital technologies. It gives MCN the ability to transform itself from an organization that hosts a single annual in-person conference into an on-demand, year-round, 24/7 professional development community portal and digital resource hub — dedicated to supporting museum professionals who want to build their network, find mentoring, participate in online events, share best practices, and access digital resources.

As the pandemic forced shutdowns early March, MCN realized that the crisis would have long lasting consequences and impact on museums. We immediately took steps to reschedule the MCN 2020 annual conference planned for Baltimore to the following year. We also recognized the need to shift our business model from an in-person to a virtual multi-resource hub that would offer our members and the community at-large alternative ways to connect and harness the collective wisdom of the “musetech” community, and to share their collective knowledge with the larger museum community.

To help us realize this vision and provide a delivery platform, we approached Knight with a bold ask: boost MCN’s organizational capacity so we could introduce a more sustainable membership subscription model that promotes affordability and accessibility, and develop a comprehensive content strategy, while experimenting with various delivery formats that best meet the museum community’s needs. MCN is immensely grateful to Knight for sharing our vision and for giving us the ability to support the museum professional community.

“Through our work to support digital transformation in cultural institutions, we have seen the impact that robust communities of practice can have on individual practitioners, institutions, and the field,” said Chris Barr, Knight’s director of arts & technology innovation. “In the museum field, MCN provides a critical space for museum professionals to gather, share and develop new approaches to digital engagement. We are excited to support MCN as they work to provide new ways to connect the museum technology community.”

We look forward to realizing our vision with Knight’s support.

Eric Longo, Executive Director

About the Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. For more, visit: knightfoundation.org.