Ten years ago I chased a girl to Minnesota. She told her friends I “did something with computers” and a job floated by: “Webmaster” at a place called the Walker Art Center. She said the Walker was cool: her friend was a member and they had great after hours parties. I bluffed my way through the interview (mod_perl was not my strong suit at the time), made a note to look up the word “curator”, and somehow got the job.
It was good work. Intense, creative, and just what I wanted to be doing. The blog we started caught the eye of the team behind the Museums and the Web conference, and we were invited to speak in New Mexico in 2006. Somehow it had never occurred to me there were more museum people doing what I was doing: getting art online, struggling with metadata and licensing, connecting communities, and lovingly leveraging technology to enact mission.
Naturally, the Walker itself is full of similarly amazing people doing incredible work, but this vibrant and welcoming community of museum technologists quickly became a bedrock of inspiration, energy, and support for me in my career. I’ve attended many more conferences since that first, and have recently served 3 years on the board of the Museum Computer Network. I’ve been lucky enough to listen to (and drink with) unrivaled leaders in the field, and in return share some of my experiences at conferences around the world. This community is populated top-to-bottom with people who are of the highest caliber, generous with their time and knowledge, and incredible assets and advocates for their institutions.
So it is with mixed emotions I’ve decided, just a month shy of my 10-year anniversary at the Walker Art Center, it’s time to change gears. I will be joining a local company to help develop their Digital Asset Management software – so the move keeps me at least tangentially connected to the museum world – and I’m wildly excited about the opportunity. I have high hopes to rediscover a bit of spare time and spend it with the girl I chased here and our two awesome kids. (…and to start hacking on various museum APIs and building fun side projects. Mmm, side projects…)
Fondly, with love, sweat, and tears: you rock, #musetech. I’ll keep you close.