Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

MCN Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are volunteer-led MCN members’ communities of practice that operate under the combined oversight of the MCN board and the Executive Director. SIGs are organized around specific topics of interest or niche practice areas. SIGs reflect the diversity of the many technology and digital practices in museums. Far from being silos or compartments that focus exclusively on a single topic or area, SIGs names and areas of focus may shift overtime to reflect actual changes in the field. So definitions may expand in future and topics often overlap: as such, existing SIGs often collaborate to develop programming that is relevant to members of different SIGs.

SIGs provide MCN members the opportunity to connect with colleagues doing similar work in the field, explore opportunities to collaborate among them, share resources and best practices, or discuss ways to advance their area of digital practice. SIG members are expected to submit proposals to present at the MCN annual conference.

And SIGs offer a great professional development opportunity to members of our community who want to raise their profile and volunteer their time and efforts to lead a SIG. If you’re interested in pursuing this opportunity, check out our SIG Charter. SIG chairs (a chair and co-chair) are nominated and elected annually in December among their peers for a one-year renewable term.

How to join or create a SIG

MCN members may join any SIG and there is no limit on the number of SIGs a member may join. When you fill out the membership registration form select which SIGs you’d like to join.You can join or leave a SIG at any time by updating your profile in the New Member Portal. Join or Login today!

The SIG Charter provides the SIGs with an operational framework. To create a new SIG, sponsors need to prepare a formal SIG proposal to be submitted to the MCN board for consideration. All SIG proposals need to clearly articulate a need for this SIG, specifically indicating how the subject matter is distinct from existing SIGs and how the sponsors (once co-chairs) will work with existing SIGs to foster dialog and discussion amongst MCN members. If you are an member and would like to propose forming a new SIG, contact [email protected].

Data & Insights SIG

The Data and Insights SIG enables MCN members to exchange research (results and methodology) and share questions regarding all manner of quantitative and qualitative evaluation of online museum content. Areas of particular interest are user feedback analysis, server log analysis, and user consultation and participation. The DI SIG endeavors to develop best practices and further the knowledge and expertise of participants as a result of pooling our experience.

Communication

We use the #musedata hashtag and the Member Portal message board.

Chair

Chris Unitt, Founder, One Further

Chris Unitt is the founder of One Further, a digital analytics and user research agency in the UK. He works with organizations that want to figure out how to gain a better understanding of their online audiences and how best to serve them. He has a particular specialism in Google Analytics (along with Google Tag Manager and Data Studio), both in terms of technical implementation and extracting insights from the data. Chris has worked with cultural organizations for over a decade, from involvement in a wide range of projects to holding board positions. In the museum sector more specifically, Chris currently works with the British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Royal Academy of Arts, Tate, and Royal Museums Greenwich among others. Outside of work (bit still on a work-related theme), Chris publishes the Cultural Digital email newsletter, rounding up tech developments in the cultural sector, speaks at conferences, and occasionally blogs at chrisunitt.co.uk.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) SIG

We support knowledge sharing, strategy, content development, and evaluation of Digital Asset Management (DAM) strategies for the cultural sector. To develop and document best-practices for Digital Asset Managers and DAM systems based on knowledge gained through implementation, use and feedback on working systems.

Communication

Topics

  • RFP development and vendor selection
  • Implementations, migrations, and integrations
  • Usability, accessibility, and system adoption
  • Approaches to complex asset types
  • Description and metadata
  • Digital rights management
  • Digital preservation

Chair

Jessica Herczeg-Konecny, Lead Technical Analyst, Digital Asset Management, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jessica Herczeg-Konecny is Lead Technical Analyst at The Metropolitan Museum of Art the Digital Asset Manager. After undergraduate work in English and American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Jessica obtained a master’s degree in Public History from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She has been working in the museum industry for over ten years in archives, collections management, rights and reproductions, and digital asset management. Jessica implemented the DIA’s first-ever Digital Asset Management System, founded and chairs the Metadata and Digital Assets Standards Committee, supervises rights management, and trains users and content creators for the DAM.

Digital Imaging SIG

The Digital Imaging Special Interest Group (DI SIG) is MCN’s prime resource for knowledge concerning the general topic of museum photography as well as the emerging field of computational imaging. The Digital Imaging SIG pools experience on workflows and best practices and the respective hardware and software involved, and makes its collective knowledge available to the broader MCN membership via SIG resources on the MCN website. The DI SIG hosts workshops and talks at the annual MCN conference covering topics of its concern, and networks with other organizations within their field.

Communication

Digital Imaging Message Board on the Member Portal

Chair

Christopher Ciccone, Photographer & Digital Asset Manager, North Carolina Museum of Art

I have been a Collections Photographer at the North Carolina Museum of Art since 2000, and an MCN member since 2014. My current duties also include digital asset administration and I am a member of MCN’s DAM SIG. Prior to my museum tenure I worked in a variety of commercial photographic settings. Having experienced the industry transition from film to digital has given me a broad perspective on the challenges and opportunities in the field. Membership in the MCN Digital Imaging SIG has been extremely helpful to me in my profession and I am enthusiastic about contributing to its ongoing success. I’m particularly interested in encouraging more practical and technical imaging presentations at MCN conferences as well as facilitating ongoing engagement and collaboration between large and small institutions. I look forward to the opportunity to serve and will do my best to sustain the excellent leadership of our current Chairs.

Educational and Interpretive Media SIG

We seek to create a community of practice and to build knowledge and skills around the planning and implementation of media and experiences that support visitor’s connections to collections and ideas. The group addresses role of digital interpretation and educational tools in the museum and the use of digital media for connecting with museum visitors across a wide array of platforms both in the museum and online.

Communication

Potential Topics

This community seeks to support and foster conversation around the following topics:

  • Methods for the digital interpretation of the collection
  • Facilitating visitor engagement and learning with objects and ideas
  • Making collections digitally accessible to the public
  • Inclusive accessibility of interpretation in the museum
  • Cross-departmental collaboration
  • Best practices for digital interpretation
  • Organizational structures for interpretive media- who is responsible?
  • Evaluation for digital projects and interpretive media
  • Leading content creation vs. content development as service
  • Education and Interpretation crossover
  • Who makes digital content? Pathways to museum interpretation
  • Qualifications and skills of being in museum interpretation
  • Storytelling and empathy

Chair

Kajva Armstrong, Associate, Site Operations, Room to Grow

Kajva Armstrong (they/them) is the current co-chair of the Educational and Interpretive Media SIG for MCN. They are an Associate, Site Operations for Room to Grow. Previously, they were Visitor Experience Associate and Exhibit Mentor at the Boston Children’s Museum, and also served on the Museum’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. They also do freelance art installation and handling at the SOWA Artist’s Guild in South Boston, and are particularly involved in other areas of MCN. Aside from co-chairing the SIG this year, 2020 marks their 5th MCN as a conference attendee and volunteer, and their 2nd year as a conference committee member. They are excited to continue working on making the SIG better and a hub of all things #museumed as we move beyond COVID into 2022!

Human-Centered Design SIG

Humans are at the heart of every museum interaction: visitors who enter a physical front door, users who explore a website, fans interacting on social media, community members looking for support, museum staff and volunteers who create and nurture these spaces. In human-centered design, we seek to understand the needs of these people, and place those needs at the center of our work. The Human-Centered Design SIG aims to foster conversations in the MCN community and beyond about who we serve, how to understand their needs, and the role that museums can and should play in the broader human community. We begin with the principle that accessibility and equity are essential to museums, and place service to the community and world at the core of our work.

Communication

Message board on the Member Portal

Topics

  • Best practices and strategies for centering experience design
  • Integrating conversations about the visitor experience into the museum’s digital and
    analog processes
  • Exploring and advocating for best practices for inclusion and access

Chair

Brian Hewitt, UX Architect/Front-end Developer, Corning Museum of Glass

Brian Hewitt is a veteran UX/UI designer and developer, with more than 20 years of experience across various sectors. Past work includes leading front-end development and accessibility initiatives at e-commerce grocery retailer, Peapod; managing web and print design and production for the research and advocacy organization, Population Action International; and designing and developing educational web sites and interactive materials at NASA’s Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics. In his first museum role, he currently leads user experience research/testing and interactive design at the Corning Museum of Glass. Brian has a multidisciplinary physics degree from American University in Washington, DC; studied design and fine art at the Corcoran College of Art + Design; and received a Master of Fine Art degree from Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland. Brian is an artist, runner, and board and role-playing game enthusiast. He lives with his wife and pancake-loving blind dog in Corning, New York.

Intellectual Property SIG

The Intellectual Property Special Interest Group (IP SIG) is MCN’s central resource for all members interested in the intellectual property issues involved with technology and museums. Its goal is to identify and examine how intellectual property concerns affect the technological delivery and presentation of museum information to all audiences. The SIG offers both a forum for discussing intellectual property issues and a platform for actively developing new ideas and models that address the intellectual property conundrums which affect the museum community. All aspects of intellectual property fall within the SIG’s purview, from traditional legal regimes such as copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secrets, to related areas such as moral, privacy and publicity rights, and the ethical and moral dimensions that often affect decision-making in the intellectual property arena. The SIG pursues its agenda primarily through MCN activities: it develops program sessions, workshops, and events for conferences, and it submits articles and newsbriefs to MCN’s website.

Communication

In addition to the Member Portal, this SIG utilizes utilizes the Museum Intellectual Property (“MUSIP”) Listserv, forum for the exchange of information between museum professionals working with issues in intellectual property.

Chair

Margaret McKee, Digital Asset Manager, The Menil Collection

Margaret C. McKee is the Digital Asset Manager at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. Her department oversees rights and reproductions, and she co-authored the institution’s internal fair use policy. Previously, she worked in photographic and imaging services at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She holds an AA from Bard College at Simon’s Rock, a BAFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico, and an MS in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. This spring she will complete a two-year term as co-chair of the Visual Resources Association’s Intellectual Property Rights Committee.

Information Technology SIG

The MCN Information Technology Special Interest Group (IT SIG) provides a forum for museum information technology individuals to exchange technical information, keep current on emerging technologies, and share related management ideas to enhance the missions of our individual museums as well as to enhance the museum community as a whole.

Communication

Message board on the Member Portal

Chair

Janice Craddock Bowen, Information Technology Director, Amon Carter Museum

Janice heads a department of four to provide technical support for approximately 120 staff at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. In her 35 years at the Museum, she has seen firsthand how technology has changed, evolving into an increasingly vital role supporting the institutional mission.

Co-Chair

David Zlatic, Chief Technology Officer, Cincinnati Museum Center

I first joined Cincinnati Museum Center as a Traveling Exhibits Technician in 2002, after I graduated from the University of Dayton. After moving on to multiple positions elsewhere in Cincinnati — I was director of business operations and technology at Xavier University for 11 years — I returned to Cincinnati Museum Center as Chief Technology Officer in June 2017.

I provide strategic direction to teams to steer them towards success. I practice the use of design thinking and human-centered design as I develop empathy for customers and team members. I believe in the power of adopting and leveraging digital assets and technology. By harnessing this fresh technology, we can improve efficiency, increase productivity and achieve our goals sooner.

I am accomplished in building new ideas from the ground up – providing the foundation for long-term growth. I unite stakeholders and prepare them for change as we reimagine and redevelop existing structures and operations. Additionally, I am an effective educator and trainer with experience in Higher Education and Corporate Training. I thrive on helping others (and myself) realize their visions and dreams!

IIIF SIG

Museums need reliable image delivery to support rich visitor experiences and internal information management. Moreover, internal and cross-institutional collaborations, and the development of knowledge—elements which are at the core of each museum’s mission—require well-established standards and protocols to share, discover and compare visual materials and metadata.

This SIG proposes to be the resource for knowledge about the benefits of the IIIF standard as well as be a link to the IIIF community. The goal of this SIG is to foster interest in IIIF, especially in regard to its collaborative nature based on the standardization of information and tools; inform the MCN community of the latest IIIF activities and technical developments; and to leverage expertise in the MCN community by documenting IIIF use cases and welcoming technical feedback that can be passed on to the IIIF Specifications Editors.

The IIIF SIG intends to leverage the existing communication channels that are currently used by the IIIF open community at large, which does not require membership, such as the IIIF lists (Discuss and others), Slack, email, GitHub. The IIIF MCN SIG will also coordinate with the IIIF Community, share notes and report back and integrate with IIIFers. All documentation maintained by the IIIF Community is universally available.

Communication

Message board on the Member Portal

Topics

  • Patterns and best practices for delivering and sharing visual resources and metadata
  • Tools to better engage museum visitors and staff with digital resources
  • Dialogue with vendors to encourage the support of IIIF in software products commonly
    used by museums
  • Engaging with an open source community to build shared digital standards and
    guidelines
  • The role of community input in IIIF to drive technical specifications

Chair 

Tristan Roddis, Director of Web Development, Cogapp

Tristan is a web technologist with over fifteen years of experience working with museums and other cultural organizations. His is passionate about both technology and the way in which museum data can be represented and presented to users, which is why he is so interested in IIIF. He has been implementing IIIF standards for museums and archives for over five years, including large-scale implementations of three core APIs: Image, Presentation and Content Search. He has shared this knowledge via presentations and workshops at various conferences, including sessions at MCN (which he has attended six times). As co-chair he hopes to make sure that MCN members are aware of the possibilities and advantages of IIIF, as well as focusing on how members can get the help they need for implementing standards-compliant systems.

Media Production and Branding SIG

We seek to support museum professionals through discussions on methods for digital media production (video, audio, text, etc.) as a storytelling and audience engagement device to manifest an organization’s identity and mission.

Communication

Topics

MCN’s Media Production and Branding SIG maintains a technical focus on production methodology as well as developing brand identity through creation and distribution of digital content. This community is dedicated to sharing both the conceptual and technical knowledge for digital media production and distribution in a growing digital ecosystem.

This community seeks to support and foster conversation around the following topics:

  • Branding as a relationship building tool for museums
  • Telling stories to develop brand identity with digital media
  • Production styles and benchmarking approaches for digital content development
  • How branding can inform technical approaches to content production
  • Distribution of content: Website, Apps, Vimeo, YouTube and social platforms
  • How brand drives decisions in user experience and interface of web channels
  • Live distribution: streaming, broadcast and social media platforms
  • Establishing best practices for production and distribution of digital content
  • Evaluating the digital media with test audiences and analytics to improve production practices and accessibility of content

Chair

Ryan Waggoner, Creative Services Manager, Spencer Museum of Art

Ryan Waggoner is a visual storyteller with a passion for art and museums. He is currently Creative Services Manager at the Spencer Museum of Art, leading a team of employees in video production, collection photography and graphic design. Waggoner is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the Getty Leadership Institute.

Co-Chair

Gregory Castillo, Photographer/Videographer, Perot Museum of Nature and Science (newly elected)

Gregory Castillo is the Photographer/Videographer the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Tx. In his role he creates digital content that helps the Perot Museum inspire minds through nature and science. Prior to joining the Perot Museum, he served as the Multimedia Producer at the Dallas Museum of Art from 2015-2021. From 2010-2015, Castillo worked as a photojournalist, with stints at the Dallas Morning News, Miami Herald and WLRN NPR News. A first-generation Cuban/Nicaraguan American, Gregory is a native of Miami, Fl. He lives in Garland, Texas with his wife Jessica and their two cocker-spaniels Bastion and Ella.

Social Media SIG

The mission of the MCN Social Media SIG is to support MCN members working with social media through the sharing of knowledge and experience in an effort to maximize the impact of content and strategy development, campaign execution, and campaign evaluation. The SIG will also focus on sharing technical knowledge and best practices with the community and act as a discussion forum to enable this.

Communication

Topics

MCN’s Social Media SIG examines the campaigns, issues, and trends in social media as it relates to museums. This group is for any individual who works with social media directly or is interested in its application in a museum context, with an emphasis on content and strategy development.

Goals for the community

To support: knowledge sharing, strategy, content development, and evaluation of social media projects.
Relevant topics include:

  • Content management and related tools as they pertain to social media management
  • Methods for maximizing content creation and its dispersal across social media platforms
  • The integration of new and varied media in campaigns and projects
  • The role of social media in supporting our educationally focused missions
  • The potential for pan-institutional, mutually beneficial campaigns and projects
  • Standards and best practices in social media metrics and the evaluation of campaigns

Chair

Jonathan Munar, Director of Digital Media and Strategy, Art21

Jonathan Munar is the Director of Digital at Art21, heading the organization’s digital presence across Web, social media, and related platforms. Previously, Jonathan was a member of the Website department at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has served on the board of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Media & Technology Professional Network and has been a presenter, guest lecturer, contributor, and panelist for organizations such as New York University, Baruch College, Art Dealers Association of America, Museum Computer Network, Museums and the Web, the New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report, and the New York City ArtsTech Meetup.

Co-Chair

Emily Haight, Social Media Manager, New-York Historical Society

Emily Haight is currently the Social Media Manager at the New-York Historical Society. Previously, Emily managed social media, e-communications, planned advertising, and designed and coordinated graphic materials at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. She also previously managed social media at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, collaborating and planning the museum’s #5WomenArtists social media campaign. She currently serves on the board of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Media & Technology Professional Network. She values cross-institutional collaboration through social media, sparking dialogue with online audiences and diverse communities, and creative uses of tech in museum spaces.

Strategy SIG

Strategic planning is beneficial for all Museums to undertake. In particular strategic planning in the digital realm is not only beneficial, but necessary in today’s Museum. From a high-level, senior management perspective, discussions will begin with addressing digital interpretation, digital asset management, and the sharing of the Museum’s rich digital content. How do we contend with gaining support for digital initiatives? How do digital priorities fit into overall Museum strategic priorities? How do we educate the importance of digital access and encourage all staff to be digital advocates? How do we fund our priorities in relationship to all Museum priorities?

Communication

Topics

  • The role of digital in museum-wide strategic planning
  • Digital content strategies
  • Managing up and educating throughout the museum
  • Priorities and balancing these priorities across the museum
  • The role of digital content in exhibitions and maximizing its effectiveness
  • Digital technologies and how we tell our stories
  • Museum-wide digital responsibilities

Chair

Tricia Robson, Senior Project Manager of Digital, Education, Publications, Imaging, Libraries & Live Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (reelected)

Tricia Robson is a strategist and team lead with over a decade of experience in arts nonprofits and tech, specializing in cross-departmental project management, digital strategy and production, and art history. Tricia is the current Senior Project Manager for Digital, Education, Publications, Imaging, Libraries & Live Arts (DEPILL) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she manages the implementation of key programs and initiatives, cross-departmental workflows, and strategic alignment across DEPILL groups. She previously served as Director of Digital Strategy at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF), where she oversaw the strategy, content production, development, scheduling, and budgets for the museums’ chief digital channels. Prior to FAMSF, she worked at Google, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. She has her Masters in Contemporary Art History from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her Bachelors in Art History and English from the University of San Diego.

Co-Chair

Susan Wigodner, Manager of Exhibition Media, Obama Foundation (reelected)

Susan Wigodner is a strategist and project manager focused on creating digital experiences for history museums, along with sustainable internal processes. Susan joined the Obama Foundation in 2019, and currently works on planning for the future Obama Presidential Center that will be built in Chicago. Prior to her current role, Susan managed digital projects for the Field Museum — including a website redesign in conjunction with the organization’s first rebrand in 20 years and the staff input/feedback strategy to match — and coordinated the development of interactives, media installations, and an audio guide/app for the opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum in May 2014.

Susan holds an M.A. in museum studies from George Washington University and a B.A. in history and anthropology from Lehigh University. She loves digital project management tools, finding better ways to collaborate across teams and organizations, and when kids and pets pop up on video calls.