MCN 2016

#MCN2016 Sessions: Partnering with Content Distributors to Reach New Audiences

Google Arts Culture screenshot

Partnering with Content Distributors to Reach New Audiences

Friday, November 4, 2016
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Speaker : Courtney O’Callaghan, Chief Digital Officer, Freer and Sackler Galleries
Speaker : Lucy Schwartz, Program Manager, Google UK Limited

Do outside content distributors help museums and cultural institutions reach audiences outside of their usual fields? What are the pros and cons of working with a global platform? Join us for an interactive discussion about partnering with content distributors. The conversation will explore the value GCI brings to both a large institution like the Smithsonian and a more traditional art museum like the Freer|Sackler. Discussion will include the use case of  “Honor Nepal,” where the Freer|Sackler teamed up with GCI and 9 other museums to Honor Nepal on the anniversary of the devastating earthquakes that struck the country.




MCN 2016 Sessions – NMC Horizon Report 2016 Museum Edition

NMC Horizon Report 2016 Museum Edition Trends infographic

NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Museum Edition

Friday, November 4, 2016 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Co-Presenter : Alex Freeman, Senior Director, Membership and Special Projects, New Media Consortium
Session Leader : Nik Honeysett, Director and CEO, BPOC

The NMC’s Horizon Report, created with input from many MCN members, has helped museums and universities set priorities for technology planning, research, and practice since 2010 ( The 2016 edition, due to be released in May 2016, contains several topics making their debut, such as information visualization and virtual reality. Panelists will introduce topics from the 2016 report, and have a moderated discussion about how museums can anticipate and react to these coming changes.




MCN 2016 Sessions – Focus on the Audience: Social Media Managers Talk Participatory Campaigns

Getty Inspired homepage screen shot

Focus on the Audience: Social Media Managers Talk Participatory Campaigns

Session Leader : Meagan Estep, Social Media Manager, National Gallery of Art
Co-Presenter : Russell Dornan, Web Editor, Wellcome Collection
Co-Presenter : Arielle Sherman, Assistant Manager, Digital Communications, Hammer Museum
Co-Presenter : Sarah Waldorf, Media Producer, The J. Paul Getty Trust
Co-Presenter : Amy Fox, Web and Social Media Content Manager, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Friday, November 4, 2016 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Compelling, interactive social media messaging is on the rise: we know, as practitioners and professionals, that “engagement” is more than simply hitting the high numbers. Now that we’ve mastered the art of crafting a creative message in 140 characters, how can we do more to connect with our online visitors in an authentic and meaningful way? Most institutions have just one (or a few) staff dedicated to social media work and little to no resources. Getting buy-in can be a challenging road, and many social media projects don’t have the management, budget, and support they require for success. And yet, we posit that a strong social media strategy includes a deep focus on a museum’s audience. To bridge the gap between onsite and online, we must speak our visitors’ language and collaborate on their terms. In this panel discussion, five social media managers from a variety of institutions will come together to explore what it really means to foster human connections with their online audiences. We’ll examine the ins and outs of beginning a participatory campaign—perhaps it’s a desire to know more about your online visitors, an interest in community involvement, a need to grow a local or distant audience, or your director saying “make this go viral”—and consider factors that contribute to a campaign’s success or flop. Through case studies and discussion, participants in this panel will explore whether or not to pursue an interactive strategy.




MCN 2016 Sessions – How to write an MCN proposal

Post it notes with MCN 2016 session proposals written on them.

How to Write an MCN Proposal

Friday, November 4, 2016 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Join the MCN Program Co-Chairs to find out how the conference program comes together.

Speaker : Suse Cairns, Assistant Professor, George Washington University
Speaker : Jennifer Foley, Director of Education and Community Engagement, Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Speaker : Trish Oxford, Principal Technologist, Trish Oxford Media




MCN 2016 Sessions – Not Just For Kids: Playful Experience for all Visitors

Not Just For Kids: Playful Experience for all Visitors

Friday, November 4, 2016 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Session Leader : Blaire Moskowitz, Marketing Manager, Antenna International
Co-Presenter : Christine Murray, Senior Content Designer, Antenna International
Co-Presenter : Erica Gangsei, Head of Interpretive Media, SFMOMA
Co-Presenter : Kellian Adams, Mastermind, Greendoor Labs
Co-Presenter : Scott Eberle, Vice President for Play Studies and Editor of The American Journal of Play, The Strong National Museum of Play

It’s a misconception that play is just for kids. As seen with adult preschools in Brooklyn, “The Beach” ball pit at the National Building Museum, and the “Adult coloring book” category on Amazon, we know the general public is looking for places to have fun and not be measurably productive at all times. How can museums capitalize on this somewhat-taboo trend of adult spontaneity and experience? “Talking about adult play is kind of taboo in our culture,” says Lynn Barnett-Morris, University of Illinois expert on the effects of play on personality. “We think it’s a waste of time or that we could be more productive doing other things — all sorts of dumb stuff.” In our unique place of “edutainment”, museums can be an agent of change to show that adult play is a way to learn new skills, remember information, and make connections, all while capturing the imagination. So how do we encourage enjoyable and playful learning in both a museum that the public views as very serious and in a culture that thinks play is only for children? How can we free visitors from the falsely perceived pressure of forced learning in a museum? Can we provide enough freedom that adult visitors are engaged in activities that encourage personal expressiveness and in turn create positive and happy memories? This panel will address how museums can address play in adult learning. We will discuss how playful environments are created and how they can be extended to outside of the museum, drawing upon the panelists experiences designing playful exhibitions and digital interpretation. Panelists will draw upon the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and the meaning of “flow” in relation to museums, and discuss how games can be incorporated into digital media.




MCN 2016 Sessions – The Digital Preservation of Babylon and VR Archives of At-Risk Heritage Sites

The digital preservation of Babylon and VR archives of at-risk heritage sites


3D photogrammetry model of a Hatrene priest. Credit: “luciamontalban” on Sketchfab.

Session Leader : Brinker Ferguson, PhD candidate, University of California Santa Cruz
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 1:45 PM – 2:15 PM


In the winter of 2009, a team of heritage professionals documented the site of Babylon using a variety of technologies in digital capture including laser scanning, photogrammetry, structured light and aerial lidar. Since that time, Babylon and its surrounding world heritage sites have come under particularly grave threat from civil war in Syria, the Iraq war, and the campaigns of fundamentalist groups such as ISIS. Currently, there is a growing sentiment within heritage organizations that while it may not be possible to physically save all at-risk sites, it might at least be possible to produce digital records for posterity, to forestall all knowledge loss and to allow future scholars and conservators to study and possible “visit” these sites, if only virtually. But such initiatives raise many ethical questions. Who is doing the documentation? What sites are deemed most at risk and most important to digitally preserve? To whom does this information belong? What tools are being used to document, and what types of data capture, imaging, and archiving do they privilege? How is this data visualized and published? And who has access to the archive of information? The Babylon project will serve as a productive locus from which to unpack issues of politics, ownership, heritage, power, and representation. In addition, this presentation will explore two different 3-D virtual reality projects that used the Babylon data. I plan to examine if they privilege particular types of imaging and knowledge sharing or if these projects might be seen as a potential model for future heritage site archives.




MCN 2016 Sessions – Examining the EDGE (Exhibit Design for GIrls Engagement) Data



Examining the EDGE (Exhibit Design for GIrls Engagement) Data

Thursday, November 3, 2016 10:15 AM – 10:45 AM
Session Leader : Miriam Langer, Professor of Media Arts, NMHU
Co-Presenter : Toni Dancstep, Senior Researcher, Exploratorium
The Exploratorium lead an NSF study to observe 1000 girls ages 8-13 engaging in hands-on science exhibits. This extensive research was a response to the NSF statement that parents “explain science to boys at 3x the level explained to girls”. By collecting and analyzing data over 2 years, the EDGE (Exhibit Design for Girls Engagement) group distilled ten key design attributes that lead to better engagement by girls. As part of the initial dissemination team, I’ll discuss the EDGE findings and how we might extrapolate from hands-on exhibit engagement to digital environments.




MCN 2016 Sessions – Strategic and Integrated Analytics / Making Data About Museums Actionable

Strategic and Integrated Analytics / Making Data About Museums Actionable

Session Leader : Bruce Wyman, Principal, USD Design | MACH Consulting
Co-Presenter : Kate Haley Goldman, Principal, Haley Goldman Consulting
Co-Presenter : Corey Timpson, Vice President, Exhibitions, Research, and Design, Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Co-Presenter : Douglas Hegley, Director of Media & Technology, Minneapolis Institute of Art

Friday, November 4, 2016 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

An emerging discipline is beginning to appear in the museum field — one of data-driven decision making. While individual departments have long used their own internal analytics tools to help make business decisions, it’s only in the recent years that data sources have substantially improved thus enabling potentially wider and more integrated application. Data sources now include everything from point-of-sale and membership data to back-end analytics of in-gallery interpretation. Data collection is the critical first step but beyond that the actual process of analysis, reliable interpretation, and learning how to effectively implement systems to use that information is still new to the culture heritage sector. This is one of the most important emerging frontiers in the museum field. It’s increasingly possible to review and use multiple sources of data to provide a more comprehensive view of how museums are being used, the intricate pathways of audience engagement, sustained relevancy and personalized relationship-building. Data sources are becoming more numerous, designing the right questions, accurate analysis and interpretation of the data, and building processes for using data, however, are hard. Our panel will review projects at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Minneapolis Institute of Art to look at how data collection is being performed, how it aligns with institutional goals, and how business decisions and strategic planning have evolved as a product of a detailed review of data leading to the overhaul of existing practices. We’ll share the thinking that goes into the data collection and analysis process while giving practical insight into how this experience can be applied to other organizations beginning to head down this path. We will also look at approaches to making practical use of big data, from statistical analysis techniques to predictive analytics – and the potential staffing and ethical implications of this emerging practice.




MCN 2016 Sessions – Making the Workplace We Want

Making the Workplace We Want

Friday, November 4, 2016 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Session Leader : Greg Albers, Digital Publications Manager, J. Paul Getty Trust
Co-Presenter : Annelisa Stephan, Manager for Digital Engagement, J. Paul Getty Trust

What does a genuinely human-centered workplace feel like—and what can you do to create it? Focusing on positive cultural and operational change for digital staff in the museum workplace, this unconference-style session will include group brainstorms and hands-on activities that explore how meaningful change can happen through small, generous actions from individuals across the org chart. We’ll generate ideas for concrete actions we can take right now around the conference themes. The following three themes are proposed, but will be open for referendum at the beginning of the session: • Collaboration—Connect with respect and true partnership • Inclusion—Create safe space for everyone to participate and act authentically • Experimentation—Work from creativity and joy We’ll focus on fostering equitable work cultures that provide alternatives to the dominator paradigm. The presenters will also share their own successes and failures in their quest for culture change, with a focus on trust, open communication, digital literacy, and the occasional happy hour. Come ready to share your own strategies, aspirations, and gripes, and leave with actionable ideas for making your own museum more collaborative, dynamic, and just plain personal—including a commitment to go back and do one thing in the following weeks to make your workplace what you need it to be. — Session emcees Greg Albers and Annelisa Stephan work on digital publications and digital engagement, respectively, at the J. Paul Getty Trust. When not building books or blogs, they often find themselves hatching up plans to increase digital literacy and joyful culture across the Getty. In 2013 they and fellow Getty tugboats, started the “10-Minute Tech” program of informal peer-to-peer training. This spring they put together the Getty’s first “Digital Share,” an on-site retreat for staff working on digital projects, that featured lightning talks, tech demos and tours, small group discussions, and a reception.

Follow up blog post here –





MCN 2016 Sessions – The Future of Museum Technology

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.




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