On behalf of MCN’s board of directors and program co-chairs, I’m thrilled to announce that registration for MCN 2023 is now open! After three years, our community is coming together again in person at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia this November.
MCN has been through a major transition since 2019. The COVID pandemic and our shift to online formats in 2020 and 2021 have had a significant financial impact on the organization. We’ve also downsized from a staffed organization with a full-time Executive Director to one that is fully volunteer-run, returning to the roots of MCN as a community-led organization. While these changes have affected the scope of MCN, they have also presented opportunities for transformation.
Thank you all for your continued support and enthusiasm over the past years. In particular, we want to thank our Allied Partners, members of our community who came together to provide financial support last year as the MCN board worked to ensure the organization could focus its energy on hosting a conference again in 2023.
Over the past two years, we’ve had the privilege of speaking with many of you about what you value about MCN, and we’ve heard many of the same things over and over: you value the community, the opportunity to come together, and MCN’s unique ability to connect established members of our community with people just getting their start in muse-tech. You want a place to share what you’ve done with technology—and to talk about how those technologies shape the way we work and how we interact with each other. And, you want MCN to continue to support diverse viewpoints and perspectives in dialogue with each other. If those things are present, it’s MCN. A community member told me, “as long as the community comes together, we could hold MCN in a parking garage!”
On that note, we are actively reimagining the conference and membership model to refocus our work on the museum technology community and its needs.
Here’s what to expect for MCN 2023:
A Refined Schedule
MCN 2023 will kick off the evening of November 8 with our signature event—Ignite! A variety of 15- and 45-minute presentations and sessions will be organized across three concurrent tracks on November 9 and 10.
We are grateful for the creativity, expertise, and support of our program co-chairs, Alice Walker and Heather MacLaughlin, as they work with proposal reviewers to build this year’s conference program around two formal tracks: one looking at how we use technology and one focused on the impact of technology on museum practice. We’re also returning to an MCN tradition with a new track: Open Spaces, a collaboratively defined track planned at the conference, allowing any attendee to propose and hold an Open Spaces session. Together, these changes will allow for the diversity of topics and viewpoints that make MCN special and also facilitate shared experiences.
The conference program will be announced in August.
A Museum Host
We’ve decided that we should lean into the community and hold MCN at a museum—and the Penn Museum has been a fabulous partner in our planning. Sessions will be hosted throughout the museum’s auditoriums and meeting spaces, and registration grants you entry to the museum. Whether you’re connecting with muse-tech friends old and new, or just needing a moment to recharge, we encourage you to wander through the many exhibitions and galleries.
We’re not offering a hotel block to conference attendees this year, but there are numerous hotels available near the Penn Museum and within distance by foot or public transportation. Only coffee breaks will be provided. We invite attendees to explore nearby restaurants, food trucks, food halls, and more during an extended lunch break. We recommend using the MCN Slack to coordinate with your colleagues, and a more detailed city guide is coming soon!
Registration is Open
Registration is available at a flat rate of $850—now until the conference starts in November. There is no early bird discount. Current members (as of July 27, 2023) can register at a reduced rate. Members, check your inbox for more information.
Student registration is available on a limited, first-come, first-served basis by contacting [email protected].
MCN is working toward a sustainable model and relies on conferences as its main revenue stream. Our registration rates and structure reflect our need to focus on ensuring the strength of our organization.
For questions about registration, email [email protected].
We’re also taking this opportunity to announce some changes to MCN membership. In our discussions, both as a board and with the community, we heard repeatedly that MCN is a community of practice. The organization is the steward of the community, but it is not the creator of it—and we shouldn’t be the gatekeepers, either. To facilitate community access and engagement, we will be considering a free membership option for anyone who wants to join. We’ll still ask for your financial support (and we’re grateful for it), but it may be optional. The introduction of this new membership option will impact member discounts for future conferences, but we will offer a member rate this year to current members (as of July 27, 2023) who supported us over the past year through your membership.
BIPOC Speakers Fund
We are again organizing a BIPOC speakers fund to increase the engagement of BIPOC people in our conference. Providing a platform for a diverse range of speakers will make for a better conference for everyone. Applications will be available in August.
We’re grateful for our community partners whose generous conference support ensures that we can gather in Philadelphia to explore all things muse-tech.
MCN remains devoted to its vision of a world in which all museums are empowered digitally to achieve their missions. We are committed and indebted to our strong sense of community and support. Together, we’ll grow the digital capacity of museum professionals by connecting them to ideas, information, opportunities, proven practices, and each other.
If you are interested in shaping the future of MCN at this important time, consider joining the board. Applications are due August 15.
I speak on behalf of the entire board when I say thank you for your trust in all of us as we work to bring this amazing community together again in 2023, and I can’t wait to see all of you in Philadelphia this November!