I was emailing with the fabulous Beth Harris(@bethrharris) of Smarthistory fame about THATCamp Museums NYC the other day and she was interested in knowing who was coming and what motivated this particular unconference. I figured that I would share my response here because it is a good summary of just what this THATCamp will be all about and why it will hopefully have a significant impact on the NYC scene.
“The last time I went to THATCamp Prime down at George Mason I was thinking that the unconference model would suit a lot of the work being done by humanists in the New York area and that it was a shame that no one had hosted one in the city yet. I realized that part of the problem is that New York is such a massive place that doing a regional conference and limiting it to 100 people would be difficult. So, I started thinking about what smaller communities we interact with here at the Bard Graduate Center that would benefit from the collaboration, networking, and resource sharing that unconferences are so good at promoting. What came to mind was that through the BGC’s connections to a lot of different museums I find that many technologists and researchers at museums are often trying to answer the same questions in isolation because of the size or operational nature of their institutions. This seemed like a great waste of time as there was no need for them to each recreate the wheel on different projects when they would be better off working together and sharing solutions. So, I came to the realization that those in the museum community of NYC who are interested in the implementation of technology could use a gathering where they could hear what other people were working on, find collaborators and strengthen the NY cultural heritage and technology network. Hence, THATCamp Museums NYC. Although I don’t know who will be participating as of yet, I’m hoping that we get a wide range of participants with an equally wide range of skills and interests, but focused on the application of technology in museums and other cultural heritage institutions. The unconference structure will mean more conversation and less long presentations, so hopefully a lot of people will be able to actively participate, get involved, and get a lot out of the weekend.”
Writing that up for Beth got me really excited for an event that is now less than two months away. This week I will be announcing a lot more information about the upcoming unconference, including the opening of registration and a list of probable workshop topics and instructors.
Looking forward to seeing everyone in May and remember to let us know if you have any questions via the email thatcampmuseumsnyc[at]bgc[dot]bard[dot]edu or the Twitter handle @THATCampMuseums.