Ideas for MCN 2011

Making Museums Work, Together: Innovation, Agility, and Collaboration

The 39th Annual MCN Conference: Nov 16-19, 2011 in Atlanta, GA!

  1. Propose sessions for MCN 2011 (until April 15, 2011—EXTENDED TO APRIL 23!)
  2. View proposals here: (login required)
  3. Volunteer to help!
  4. Suggest workshop topics
  5. THATcamp

And add your general ideas and suggestions either by editing this page or posting a comment below.

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Conference Ideas

This year's conference is a platform for "all hands" in the museum to meet, collaborate and innovate. We're looking for presentations that demonstrate agility of response and process, inter-disciplinary solutions and cross-departmental collaboration in the museum. Include not just your technology colleagues but also your curators and registrars, marketing and development teams, your conservators, educators, administrators and volunteers! Inspire us with your out-of-the-box thinking and innovative uses of technology to cross boundaries and unite staff and audiences alike in doing the work of the museum.


There will be an un-conference as part of the MCN 2011 conference, organized in partnership with ThatCamp, to ensure that there is an opportunity for every topic to get discussed, even if it is not part of the formal program. More details to come on:

  • Video for multiple formats (Robin White Owen)


Proposed new & expanded program areas:

  • Usability testing, evaluation and audience research
  • Lab to evaluate digital products brought by conference attendees
  • Conservation session series
  • Development workshop & session: translating tech into critical support
  • Libraries and Archives session series
  • DAMs
  • Data Visualization
  • Video production: for web & mobile & passim
  • AR
  • Standards (what kind of standards?)
  • Games session series
  • Mobile & mLearning session series
  • Horizon Report: putting the ideas into action.
  • “How to Take MCN Home to your Institution", with suggestions about how to communicate the highlights of the conference, how to speak to administration about it, and methods for creating dialogue and/or action plans that are guided by MCN conference content.
  • MCN History Lesson
  • Connecting the Online & On-site Experience/Audiences
  • Collaboration among institutions sharing digital data
  1. Program
    1. Length of the day: At what time should the conference day start? End? How long should sessions be? Christina: I'd like to see the program start at 9 am on most days and either extend to 6 pm, or go from 9-5pm with some shorter sessions. Vicki: I agree, and opportunities for mixing up at eating times. I admit hanging with people I know & afterward kick myself for not hanging with new people.  Nearby group dinner reservations with sign-ups? Corey: I agree. A 9-5 should work well.
    2. Case Study Showcases
      1. Theme showcases, e.g. Taiwan, SIGs, bleeding-edge technology and solicit proposals by theme
      2. Should they be plenary? Or should concurrent sessions run at the same time? The plenary hall does stand empty during concurrent sessions so space-wise this is possible, but attendance would be much smaller… David: I would rather keep them as they were.
        Sheila:  I like the idea of having a case study session that is SIGs.  Having the SIGs at lunch is difficult, given the time constraints. 
    3. Session intros: How can we provide 2-5min overviews of all sessions at the beginning of the conference or at the beginning of each day, to help people schedule their time at the conference or at least taste sessions they can’t attend in order to follow up with the presenter later? David: Why waste valuable conference time with that. Maybe ask panelists/presenters/chairs to post 2 minute videos online beforehand introducing their sessions?  At this point, pretty much everyone has that capability. Hell, most of us can do it with our phones. Neal: I agree with David. The introduction to the projects should occur with a short video on the conference wiki with a link to project details. The best part of the case study sessions is spending time engaging with the presenters and peers in discussion. Corey: great idea David.
      Vicki: agreed, but if videos will be produced anyway, why not run them on a screen at morning coffee 30 min before start of day.  And, oh yeah, morning coffee before 1st session!
    4. Closing plenary debate: keep this in 2011 program! 
      1. But perhaps with a different cast of characters, and a little more clarity on the rules. (DH)
      2. One suggestion I heard was a "Past MCN Presidents" debate. (DH)
      3. Another suggestion I heard was for the audience to determine the question. The problem with that is the debate teams would have no time to do and preparatory research. (DH)
      4. We could make the ability to propose/vote on debate topics contingent on MCN membership. (KJS)
      5. How about a debate on 1 or 2 topics from different perspectives: technologist, Director, curator, educator, marketer, etc. Why not webcast it? (VP) Corey: Is there an audience for the webcast of the debate? Seems to me attendance of the debate was light to begin with.  Vicki: didn't know that. I missed the debate.  Low attendance also may have been partly because it was late on the last day. Sheila:  I agree that having the debate late on the last day contributed to light attendance.  Following on this idea, how about having someone from 'outside' the community in the debate?  During the 'building bridges' session, someone (Bruce?) brought up the fact that we always look to each other, but could look at good examples from outside the community. Robin: This idea would go along well with Vicki's comment on the Proposed Conf Theme. It could really open us the conversation between practitioners and the users identified above, and contribute to arriving at a common understanding of what their needs are and how we can help each other. 
    5. Unconference: The MCN unconference has two important aims:
      1. Provide an opportunity for those who can’t afford full MCN registration to join the community by attending part of the event and networking, both proposing and participating in conversations and unconference sessions of interest to them. The unconference may be particularly valuable for local residents as a low-cost way to take advantage of MCN coming to town.
      2. Provide opportunities for MCN attendees to create their own sessions ad hoc and in response to questions and topics of interest to them that may have been raised by the main conference program (or not) but not addressed by it.  Size and number of attendees does not matter in the unconference: a small conversation among a handful of attendees can have huge impact if it is facilitated at the right moment: the unconference aims to provide a platform for that.
      3. I like the clarity of a. and b. above, but we need to find a way to make this more clear to attendees. (DH)
      4. I heard from more than one attendee that the unconference should not take place in conflict with the conference sessions. Because the sessions were so good, the attendees could not find a time to work the unconference. Those I spoke with thought that regional unconferences during the year might work, but would depend on locations. (DH) Strongly Agree! (VP)  Sheila:  I really agree with this!  Some topics were interesting to me, but I was committed to various conference sessions.
      5. I agree with Douglas on point (d).  I think it might be helpful if there were slots during the conference for the unconference sessions, with nothing else going on at the same time.  I know this kinda kills some of the original intent, but at least it would allow conference attendees to go to a few of them. (KJS) And those not interested in unconference could gather for discussions in the plentiful & inviting gathering areas with blazing fast wifi (VP)
      6. I was bummed not to have seen any of the Unconference stuff.  What if it were in the evening? (RM) 
      7. Realistically, we need the evening time for socializing and networking. I would not want to sacrifice that. To me, the most important part of the unconference process is the very first gathering in which participants decide upon the agenda. That is the most important aspect to schedule in a way in which everyone can participate and nothing else conflicts.  If you do that, then you should generate better session ideas and regular conference attendees will be even more invested in the success of the unconference. Even if the unconference runs parallel to the regular conference, if we can skillfully develop tracks for the presentations/case studies, I think participants can make choices (painful as they may be sometimes). (DK)
      8. The unconference should be an informal salon.  Two sessions each day would take place between more traditional lecture and panel programs.  Themes should be posted on the unconference section of the wiki several months in advance and voted upon by participants.  A thought leader would guide attendees in collaborative group work as they utilize digital tools (tablets, mobile devices and projectors) in real-time to explore the selected themes.  The creative output of the salon should result in innovative approaches to policy issues or a prototype for an open source and Creative Commons licensed digital tool. The unconference salon should be an immersion experience for participants, that gives them energy to continue the work begun in the sessions.  Rather than having a separate unconference, MCN should provide more scholarship opportunities to attend the general conference.  Financially challenged or emerging professionals should not be segregated from our embracing community. (NS) Sheila:  I'm okay with them being informal, but is there some way to share the information from the sessions beyond those who attended?  (and beyond the 140 character limit of twitter)  ;-)
      9. Facilitation in the unconference sessions is vital to ensure topics are gathered & selected from, then something is documented, built or whatever the real work is to be done. Some sessions were like this, but others were somewhat freeform presentations with some Q&A after. Nothing wrong with that, I just think they should be billed as such and unconference be treated differently. (VP)
      10. The content of the unconference sessions needs to be better promoted within the context of the whole thing. Maybe they could be lunch sessions? Or maybe run unconference sessions the way you did Case Studies this year, where several are presented to the group one after the other and then people can go to the session group they're most interested in. That worked really well for discussions around Case Studies. (RWO) 
    6. Proposed new & expanded program areas:
      1. Usability testing, evaluation and audience research:
        1. Working with audiences and technology: workshop, tutorials and/or presentations on how to conduct usability testing, evaluations and audience research David: Yes! Vicki: I think these are very useful. Would love to know how many folks are able to go back to their institutions and implement this knowledge? Maybe also include tips on getting evaluation viewed as a priority for projects and/or within the organization? 
        2. Lab to evaluate digital products brought by conference attendees David: Yes!  Vicki: Like this, works well at MW.  Would be nice if projects need not be proposed until just before conference so folks in midst of prototypes can get feedback. Corey: just keep in mind that means critics don't have long to review the products being put forward for review. I've been a critic at MW in the past and it meant working that into my time at the conference. Also, I wonder if there is a role for the Evaluation SIG to play in something like this. I believe Sheila has been having trouble with participation to the SIG. Vicki: good point, Corey.  Sheila:  I could see a role for the Evaluation SIG (if it continues ... I'm looking at making it more active this year, but I'd definitely need to recruit volunteers for this, as there isn't really a 'SIG' as such right now)
      2. Conservation session series:
        1. 21st century conservation best practice and digital technologies
        2. Creating connections and relationships between museum technologists and conservators Vicki: Yes! That's what I'm talking about! More of this cross-pollination stuff!
        3. Conserving born-digital art, archives and interpretation materials Vicki: and collecting/accessioning born-digital materials
      3. Development workshop & session: translating tech into critical support Good idea! (RWO)
        1. How can museum technologists help the development office with fund-raising by presenting and explaining the museum’s digital needs in compelling ways?   
        2. How can the development office help museum technologists achieve the museum’s mission and goals?
        3. The Philadelphia Museum of Art's development staff may have some insights in this regard. They are one of the few museums I am aware of that lists digital initiatives on their development website (  Perhaps we could also engage Kickstarter ( as a sponsor or invite one of their staff as a keynote speaker ( (NS)  Vicki: big culture thing where I come from, where it starts with digital projects being seen as a museum-wide priority before Development gets involved. c. would be great, esp. if we can explore how digital projects are viewed by traditional fundraising offices & what the tipping point may be (e.g. what did it for Philadelphia Museum of Art?)
    1. Libraries and Archives session series
      1. Utilizing museum library and archive collections to enrich interpretation materials and connect with audiences. [Qs Anyone exploring projects similar to LookBackMaps within a museum context, ex. w/ former gallery installation, exhibits, tours, views? Using archives materials for museum blogs?, Etc.] (hsr)
    2. DAMs
    3. Data Visualization
      1. For both internal needs and visitors (KHG)
    4. Video production: for web & mobile & passim
    5. AR
      1. AR can often be viewed as too resource intensive.  This could be a good "build it" thing, if indeed could be demonstrated as done quickly & on a shoestring.
    6. Standards (what kind of standards?)
    7. Games session series (Koven: I would love to get some true game designers in here; I think that's a potentially fruitful collaboration that we haven't even begun to explore.  A workshop session in which a museum could present its problem set to a real actual game designer for brainstorming and conceptualizing would be amazing, methinks.) Sheila:  I like this!  There is a lot of creativity in the gaming community, and the museum community could learn from them, even though we obviously have more limited resources. (RWO - really good idea!)
    8. Mobile & mLearning session series
      1. Best practices and Research on effective pedagogy in mobile environments. We're all excited about mobile, but do we have good models on effective learning strategies in this area? (DK) Good idea! (RWO)
    9. Horizon Report: putting the ideas into action. There seemed to be a disconnect between the "here are some things to be aware of" and the "here's how to take actions now" camps in the Horizon Report session. Suggestions for a follow-up session on the actions that could be taken were heard. (DH)  Good one (VP)  Sheila:  Good point.
    10. Similar to m. above: a session called "How to Take MCN Home to you Institution", with suggestions about how to communicate the highlights of the conference, how to speak to administration about it, and methods for creating dialogue and/or action plans that are guided by MCN conference content. (DH) Vicki: Agreed, please see comments at top re: theme, however.  Maybe we could do more to get their colleagues involved at MCN directly?  Robin:If people from other areas of the museum are at the conference they are the ones who can take MCN home to their institutions, they become the ambassadors and will also have their own ideas about what the highlights of the conf were for them - which we should be glad to know about. 
    11. The value of MCN can best be brought to home institutions by aggregating and archiving conference content online so that MCN members, conference attendees and interested colleagues can build community through sharing the innovative and exciting discoveries that spring from the conference.  MCN needs a video sound bite that defines the mission and vision of our organization.  Something like the " A Shared Culture" video produced by Creative Commons ( (NS) Vicki: Agreed, shorter & more general audience/digestible, the better.
    12. MCN History Lesson - this could be done as a kind of brown bag lunch. (DH)
    13. An MCN award of some kind. This suggestion came from John Gordy, who understands that the MUSE awards of AAM-MAT and the Best of the Web at MW present competition/conflict. His suggestion was to have something much more general, something with no entry fee and no nomination process, just the Board of MCN thinking about something in line with conference theme and deciding to give one award (or maybe Gold, Silver, and Bronze). (DH) 
      1. What's the focus here?  The tech?  The project?  Progress in an identified goal of the field?  (KHG)
      2. The AAM Muse Awards already recognize specific technological accomplishments in the field.  This is a noble and valuable recognition of our colleagues achievements. An MCN award should be presented to one or a few individuals for a humanitarian accomplishment that uses digital technology in service in the museum field.  An example might be The Inventors Hall of Fame ( (NS)
    14. Pub Crawl - The pub crawl is always enjoyed. SCVNGR was an interesting addition this year and I'd be interested in knowing how successful it was (participation numbers, ease of use, overall enjoyment, how participation waned as the night stretched on, etc.). I like the idea of having some activity that runs through the pub crawl, even if SCVNGR had its issues. Maybe a kind of mild game-play that encourages cooperation/collaboration to achieve goals - also talking to those one doesn't yet know very well. Some kind of subtle MCN identifier (not the conference badge) might help as well. (Corey) 
    15. Connecting the Online & On-site Experience/Audiences
    16. Collaboration among institutions sharing digital data - The New York Times article, Digital Keys For Unlocking Humanities' Riches highlights the opportunities for and value of collaboration among institutions through sharing digital data. For example, are there projects, like exhibition catalogues designed for the iPad or the web that could grow over time through the contributions of multiple institutions? 
    17. Something on the Google Art Project would be great, with museum people who collaborated on that project plus someone from Google. Maybe this could be a show-and-tell with behind-the-scenes "making of" content during a [hypothetically] Google-sponsored coffee break. Subtopics could include collaborative process and partnering, how intellectual property rights and security issues were managed, and technical nuts-and-bolts of capture and delivery. . (Rob L.)
  1. Program materials
    1. App/mobile website instead of a printed program
      1. Print-on-demand has proven to work poorly, probably not a good option. (DH)
      2. If attendees want a printed program, charge them for it during registration. (DH)
      3. In lieu of a printed program, consider session schedule brochures or cards - like AAM. (DH)  
      4. I'm sympathetic to these ideas, but let's keep in mind how spotty WiFi reception was at the Sheraton. I used the print program a lot because it was annoying to read in PDF on my phone or iPad, and the Website useful, but not as easy to scan as the print program. If the technology works, the ideas above are great. (DK)
      5. I favor a mobile website that works cross platform. Print programs are an unnecessary expense and they are unable to adapt with changes throughout the conference. We must strive to find a host site that provides sound telecommunications services as we prepare for next year. We are the Museum Computer Network. Finding solutions to technological challenges is part of our mission. (NS) 
      6. Yes! (VP)
      7. While I agree with d. I think we should take the e. view. How did the app work for MW2010, for example? And Yes to all of the mobile ideas below(RWO) 
      8. I'm sympathetic to both views, but a print option, at least, is needed so we don't disenfranchise attendees who don't have smartphones (not all do), and for ease of at-a-glance access regardless of the moment-to-moment state of wireless infrastructure, users' screen sizes, etc. A mobile website sounds perfect as the foregrounded channel, but we need the program to be accessible to everyone. MCN welcomes both the mobile-savvy and people who are entirely new even to that key technology, so a low-tech means of entry remains crucial. (Rob L.)
    2. Mobile website is populated automatically from fields completed in proposal submission form.
    3. Back-end automatically generates the following reports:
      1. List of all presenters with contact details
      2. List of presenters by type: case study; unconference, panel chairs, etc.
      3. List of workshop attendees
    4. Badges
      1. Include Twitter handles David: YES, Neal: YES, Vicki: YES YES YES, Rob L. yes!
      2. Include 3D bar code with attendee's contact details on his/her badge (yes! -KJS) David: YES, QR Codes? (NS), maybe QR and enable each attendee to redirect her destination URL as desired? (Rob L.)
      3. Include a small, printed quick reference guide in badge holder (see program materials 2.i.c.)
      4. Include a small, printed quick reference guide in badge holder
      5. Nerd badges for all who contribute to the program and event
    5. Recording sessions
      1. Identify at least some sessions that can be recorded and podcast and/or webcast, as audio, slideshows or video Vicki: YES!
      2. Provide publicity for sponsor of conference recording at conference and ongoing on web archive
      3. How about an MCN YouTube Channel and Flip Video? (NS) 
  2. Program committee: roles & responsibilities 
    1. Program chair: overall responsibility for coordinating the activities of the program committee and ensuring a successful conference. Responsible for communications with conference presenters and chairs. Liaises with Conference Chair and designated conference committee members on tasks of joint interest and responsibility, e.g. conference mobile website/app
    2. Workshop organizer
    3. Keynote recruiter: starts Nov 1, 2010
    4. Mobile website/app developer & online program development team 
    5. Administrator: keeps comprehensive list of sessions, presentations and presenters with correct timing, room allocation and contact details
    6. Wiki editor: keeps conference planning wiki up to date; edits FAQs page and responds to comments and questions left on the wiki
    7. Gamer: works with sponsors and volunteers to build meaningful and fun conference game(s) and award prizes
    8. SIG chairs and website editors: help form conference program by suggesting and recruiting workshops, papers and panels in their areas of subject expertise
  3. Conference committee: roles & responsibilities
    1. Conference chair
    2. Opening reception organizer: starts Nov 1, 2010
    3. Local committee liaison
    4. Delegate materials organizer: secures bags or other containers for printed materials distributed to delegates and manages the assembly of the bags; designs and secures conference badges
    5. Volunteer coordinator: recruits and assigns volunteers to tasks both during the conference and in the run-up to it as needed
    6. Print program oversight
    7. Social media manager(s): publicizes 2011 conference from call for proposals through tweeting sessions
      1. MCN should consolidate its various social media outlets. A Tumblr ( site might be the best way to organize a permanent and constant MCN social media presence. MCN should perhaps consider moving much of its listserv communication to social media spaces in an effort to increase our audience and transparency. Two or three people might be needed to coordinate social media efforts. (NS)
    8. Silent auction chairs 
    9. Scholarship program chairs (added by Christina)
    10. Evaluator: designs conference survey and other instruments for collecting feedback on all aspects of the conference, including sponsorship, exhibitor hall, online services, publications and catering as well as workshops, sessions and presentations. Analyzes and reports on the feedback. Ideally a multi-year role to provide continuity of data and analysis over the years to enable strategic reformulation of the conference program. NB suggest that a professional evaluator or company be engaged to help with this as part of overall MCN evaluation in 2011 in exchange for publicity and promotion both at the 2011 conference and online. In this case the Evaluator would be the program committee liaison and project manager, using the best practice and instruments proposed by the professional company. Christina: this is a great idea. Vicki: Agreed, good idea. 
      1. Rating of sessions through the mobile web program/app, but kept confidential (KHG) Good idea, useful to presenters & organizers (VP)
  4. Related roles and responsibilities
    1. Conference management company: negotiates with hotel, manages registrations and reports on revenues, arranges for all room and AV set-up at hotel, runs the registration and help desk at the conference…
    2. Finance
    3. IT & AV
      1. On-site at conference
      2. MCN website team
    4. Sponsor and exhibitor coordinator; exhibit hall coordinator
    5. SIGs
  5. Exhibitor Hall
    1. Have a lounge area for informal meetings on the exhibitor hall Christina: I love this idea, we should definitely do this. Vicki: Absolutely! With great wifi. Rob L.: yes, great!
    2. Hold certain events in the exhibitor hall, e.g. unconference scheduling session & keep unconference schedule in the hall ?? Christina: this too. Vicki: Yep.
    3. Have video screens on/near coffee break tables to run sponsor adverts   
      1. Video screens should also show social media streams, video of conference sessions and user contributed images. (NS) Vicki: Yes! Run conference content!
    4. Consider having sponsored breakfasts in exhibitor hall
  6. Plenary Hall
    1. Offer poster-style advertising space in plenary hall for sponsors and exhibitors
  7. Equipment
    1. Request donations of projectors, speakers and computers early on in exchange for free admission to MCN
  8. Session Proposals & Submissions 
    1. Provide space on wiki for those seeking collaborators/co-presenters/panelists for session proposals; perhaps message board style or just a basic "help wanted" section of the wiki

Earlier discussions of the conference theme:

  • Getting it done
  • a theme that more directly highlights projects that are truly mission driven, or purpose driven; projects that have include an artwork specific research component that delivers a visible, quantitative, and additive product
  • Agile Museums
  • if we go with the agile theme, I'd like to see us actually make/build some things collaboratively
  • beyond open source, but BY the community
  • engaging with mission and institutions' cultural ethos and policy frameworks to recruit support for technology projects
  • mission driven tech projects, key stakeholders and buy-in
  • combine agility, mission, process, culture - getting it done beyond what practitioners directly control & thinking more broadly in the context of the entire organization
  • themes that speak to museum professionals from curatorial, leadership, or any area of expertise that doesn't typically attend MCN

Important Work: how can we enable MCN 2011 attendees to get important work done and make meaningful connections with their colleagues to further their institutions’ missions and priorities?

Koven: This theme feels a bit workmanlike to me; there's not a lot of "majesty" in it. I keep thinking about a short post Mia Ridge did a while back about agile museum projects, and I wonder if this is closer to where we need to be going.  "Agile Museums" seems a bit too easy, but that direction might be fruitful.

Richard: I like the concept of this theme as I think I understand it, but perhaps it needs a bit of tweaking. I'm thinking more about a theme that more directly highlights projects that are truly mission driven, or purpose driven; projects that have include an artwork specific research component that delivers a visible, quantitative, and additive product . (And, sorry, I couldn't resist: Koven, majesty is for Dragons!)  

Christina: if we go with the agile theme, I'd like to see us actually make/build some things collaboratively. 

Corey: the mobile workshop on Day 1, I thought, was very successful and led to the development of something (if not actually "building" something). Encouraging more sessions like this - beyond open source, but BY the community, would work very well with this theme.

Neal: The conference should address not only specific project based work, but critically engage the larger questions surrounding institutions' cultural ethos and policy frameworks.  Many projects are stifled or never get off the ground because boards and administrators lack the will support technology projects. Until museum technologists achieve greater success on the ideological front, we will continue to see vital mission driven projects ignored, dismissed, underfunded or abandoned. 

Vicki: I think there is some synthesis to be realized among these great ideas - agility, mission, process, culture - getting it done beyond what practitioners directly control & thinking more broadly in the context of the entire organization. I think MCN can help practitioners advocate for their role in the organization, but also understand the roles & perspectives of their colleagues, leaders & stakeholders and how that impacts getting things done.   I would love to see more museum professionals from curatorial, leadership, or any area of expertise that doesn't typically attend MCN, feel motivated to attend in person or participate remotely in some way.  It would be great if some of the program was geared not just to technologist's concerns, but to those of others in the organization as well.  I know this is getting into details beyond the theme, but perhaps we could provide an instrument for attendees to survey the state of their museum's culture & attitudes toward technology projects that could then be reported and discussed at the conference?  Find some common barriers to getting it done & devise testable solutions? Bridging the gap?   

Robin: I’m still new to MCN, but I agree with Vicky that it could be a very good thing to involve curators, administrators, development folks and others that practitioners need to win over/work with. MCN is small enough, intimate enough so that they would feel comfortable, have lots of conversations, and enjoy themselves and get to see things from a tech perspective. Perhaps at least one conference track could be devoted to looking at mission driven tech projects that are up and running and have the key stakeholders talk about the buy-in process, what it took, how minds have been changed, what the out-comes are so far. On the other hand, maybe this has already been done ad infinitum at MW;-)

Conference theme evaluation/ideas

Indeed there are some great ideas out here!  I’m thinking along same lines as Vicki who suggested that there are some synergies in several proposed ideas that could frame a nice broad topic.  I especially like the idea of thinking about techniques familiar to technologists-like agile- applied more broadly and in collaboration with our colleagues in curatorial, education, conservation, etc. to best serve our missions.  I am also reminded of Obama’s State of the Union speech emphasizing innovation as an important key to the country’s future. 

I was noodling with this idea—
Mission Empowered: Innovation, Collaboration and Agility
(And I’ll dress up like a geek version of Tom Cruise.. not really since that guy creeps me out..)

Conference theme evaluation/ideas

Good summary, but your title is missing an important word - Technology!

For those in other museum departments, don't we want to show  that using technology can be one of the best ways to help an institution accomplish its mission? For museum tecnhnologists, aren't we looking for successful uses (libraries, archives) that we can adapt?

Collaboration certainly - as technologists collaborate with educators, curators, exhibit developers, etc to help them accomplish their goals

Agility - since the beauty of it is that you can afford to learn step by step (aka fail). If we really foreground this concept it could help to make this conference stand out from others like it.

Innovation could be considered part of the agile process.

So, perhaps: Mission Empowered: Technology, Collaboration and Agility




conference theme

I agree with Koven: as a conference theme "getting it done" is too daily-work-drag.  Not sexy.  "Agile" is a lot more lively. Institutions are generally anything but agile, and the idea that they could be, if only we attended this conference and learned how, could be very attractive to potential attendees.  A better sell.


Amalyah Keshet

Keynote speaker possibility

Probably lots of people by now have heard one of Tim Wu's recent talking sessions as he does the launch of his book, The Master Switch, The Rise and Fall Information Empires. I think I've heard parts of at least three interviews, and I find him very impressive. While his basic topic might not be a bullseye for MCN, I'd say it's pretty close and I think he could present quite a thought-provoking talk that might very well tie into our community's political and philosophical interests. He's certainly got a lot of interesting stories about business dynamics in our general arena. Just a suggestion... and the book is a good read, btw. - Sam

Thanks, Sam!

Great recommendation on both counts, and much appreciated!

- Nancy

Re conference theme, on behalf of Robin White Owen

Not sure where to add this note but thinking about the description in the Conference Theme section above where "getting it done beyond what practitioners directly control & thinking more broadly in the context of the entire organization" is mentioned, possibly a good example could be MoMA's Abstract Expressionism iPad app - at least as Allegra described it in the Mobile Session on Saturday Oct. 30. She talked about how marketing, curatorial, her digital team all worked together for the app to happen. (RWO)