Presentations at MCN 2018


Museum Computer Network is

a membership-based professional association that provides a space for museum professionals to connect, share resources and best practices, develop their careers, and advance digital transformation in museums. Hosted every year since 1968, MCN’s Annual Conference draws over 600 cultural heritage professionals from museums, historic sites and visitor attractions in North America and beyond. Each conference features a variety of interactions and professional development opportunities.

This year the conference is taking place in Denver, and I’m involved in three presentations.

Proud to be Flesh: Cultural Spaces After the Internet (A conversation between museum technologists and local artists)

Exchange big ideas on complex topics with local artists and practitioners at this conversation-in-the-round about the impact of the Internet on cultural spaces. Now that a generation has grown up not knowing a world without the Internet, has the question evolved from “Do cultural institutions need to be online?” to “Do cultural institutions need to have physical spaces?” Consider the work of artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Kara Walker, whose work was so prolific on Instagram, Art In America reported that even arts professionals “willfully refrained from seeing [the work] … because they felt that they had already sufficiently experienced the piece.”

This unmoderated exchange, facilitated by local arts organization Tilt West, will explore the nature and relevance of digitally-influenced physical spaces, providing a rare opportunity for heady dialogue and a chance to experience a slice of the Denver art scene. Participants will journey offsite to a lesser-known art space to exchange ideas, evolve perspectives, and make connections across disciplines.

Understanding our audiences: The Whitney’s Website Visitor Survey and its broader context

This session will share learnings from the Whitney’s recent website visitor motivation survey, and review how these resonate with the recent Museum VMS paper published in the Journal of Digital and Social Media Marketing. We will cover methodological approaches and findings, as well as the usage of motivation as a key variable to define website segmentation. The Whitney’s results will be reviewed in the context of ongoing efforts to understand the intersectionality of museum audiences, and the development of human-first approaches, blending an understanding of user intent and action to measure more meaningful behavior and engagement.

Drawing on case studies from the Met and the Tate, we’ll look at how these studies influence decisions in the digital roadmap of these institutions.The ongoing exploration of visitor motivation and the public sharing of the results at conferences and in peer-reviewed journals represents an important dialogue that is stimulating the evolution of websites and digital content. By demonstrating how museums gain insights into audience motivations and behaviors, the session endeavors to spur more museums to conduct VMS projects. The audience will learn how to implement VMS projects at their own institutions, how to analyze the results, and make use of the data.

Emotion, Intimacy and Space: Designing and Developing the Clyfford Still Museum’s In-Gallery Video Kiosk System

This case-study session will present insight into how digital design can reflect the physical space in which it is installed, how graphic and movement choices affect visitors’ sense of intimacy, and how the interactive components of museum visitors’ experience can be made approachable through the collaborating disciplines of design and development. The Clyfford Still Museum’s in-gallery kiosk system acts as an interactive library that makes accessible to visitors the full archive of videos commissioned by the museum, with every aspect of the design having been considered in terms of user experience.

We will demonstrate how a content-management back-end allows the visitor-facing presentation to scale with the museum, and how this can be achieved while fitting into a museum’s established technology stack. We will cover how advanced features of WordPress, including the REST and Caching APIs, can be used to power a React-based front-end.

Posted July 2018

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