In and Out of Start Up Mode: How museums manage the shuffling of Digital Projects through periods of launch, maintenance, revision and redesign

Professional Forum
Jane Alexander, The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA, Loic Tallon, Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA, Marc Cima, National September 11 Memorial and Museum, USA

Traditional management models for museum projects are often at odds with what is necessary to support innovative and iterative technology initiatives. While there is the initial task of planning and gathering resources for the highly visible launch of a project, the resources necessary for sustaining and evolving the project are different, but equally important and often overlooked. The truth is, a technology department is constantly shuffling through periods of launch, maintenance, revision and redesign. From start up to operational mode or through product management and evaluation, different phases require different resources (whether it be staffing, funding or technical skills). Moreover, the expectations of leadership must also be managed to justify the necessary support for the technology department even when there is not a new and flashy project. This session will identify how three museum case studies: The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, have successfully balanced funding and scalability with the transition from start-up mode to fully operational and museum-wide digital implementation. We will look at a few real-life scenarios of mis-alignment between funding models and institutional objectives, hear in detail innovative methods of supporting innovation that have already been implemented by our three case studies, and talk through a checklist for helping your tech and digital team work with development and funders to build and sustain capacity. We will address the importance of prioritizing technology from within, and ensuring alignment with mission-driven priorities such as education, conservation, and curatorial development.

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