The history of MCN spans forty years — a period during which technology and information technology in particular developed at an exponential pace. Capturing the story of MCN is a promising new initiative of the organization.

Historical Overview

In 1967, an informal grouping of museums in the New York City area established the Museum Computer Network (MCN) with the goal of automating their registration records. With funding from the New York Council on the Arts, MCN developed a prototype mainframe network that was shared by participants from 1968 to 1971. Then in 1971 when the funding ended, MCN was formally incorporated as a nonprofit organization that has since attracted members from around the country. As new technology superseded the original shared registration system, MCN evolved into a network of dedicated professionals wishing to improve their means of developing, managing, and conveying museum information through the use of automation. Through annual conferences that began in 1972 and the publication of Spectra starting in 1974, MCN has supported the dissemination of information about the use of computers in museum practice. MCN continues today with members around the world sharing expertise in emerging technologies and their application in museum settings.

Read More about MCN History

A Brief History of the Museum Computer Network An article written by Marla Misunas and Richard Urban for the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, August 2007.

Leadership History

For information about MCN's past boards of directors and executive leaders, please see our Leadership History page.