A day of papers, presentations and discussions concluded with an anniversary reception at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, the venue of the first ever MCG meeting 25 years ago.

cambridge-anthOn the 19th March, the conference was preceded by the concluding workshop of the nine-month project ‘Semantic Web thinktank’, supported by the MCG, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

And, taking place around the conference, delegates were also encouraged to participate in: ‘Discursive formations – place, narrative and digitality in the museum of the future’ A pilot project funded by the AHRC.


9.15 to 9.45: Arrival and registration
The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3ER

9.45 to 10.00: Chair’s and host’s welcome

10.00 to 11.15: SESSION 1 – Strategy

David Dawson (Senior Policy Adviser Digital Futures – MLA)

ICT Strategy in Scotland
Dylan Edgar (ICT Development Manager, Scottish Museums Council)
The presentation will provide an overview of the Scottish museum sector, along with specific reference to the Scottish Museum Council’s national ICT strategy. It will highlight SMC’s general strategic priorities, while focusing in more detail on some of the individual projects and initiatives that have formed the basis of the three-year action framework. The presentation will also explore the issue of cross-domain working in Scotland, and identify future areas of work and potential opportunities for UK-wide and European collaboration.

11.15 to 11.35: Break for coffee

11.35 to 12.45: SESSION 2 – Collections

Digital projects in the East of England region: a review of activity and trends
Gordon Chancellor (Regional Development Officer – Archives – MLA East of England) and Jenny Duke (Regional Learning Officer – MLA East of England)
An exploration of some of the work currently taking place including the ‘Think Digital’ toolkit, The Digital Archives Regional Pilot (DARP), and the resources made available to schools through the Broadband Consortium Web portal.

MDA and ICT for Museums
Nick Poole (Director – MDA)
MDA’s vision for the future development of knowledge and information systems in museums, looking at stable infrastructure, business process, sustainable development and core skills in ICT.

12.45-2.15: Buffet lunch (provided)

2.15-3.30: SESSION 3 – Interpretation

Why are on-line catalogues useless for access? Experiences and Developments at the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
Robin Boast (Deputy Director – Curator for World Archaeology – Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology)
Robin will explore the problems of the catalogue, assumptions about access and developments at the MAA, in the United States and beyond. He will challenge the idea that on-line catalogues equal better access, and why we need much more experimentation and exploration.

‘No photography or mobile phones in the gallery please’
David Scruton (Documentation and Access Manager – The Fitzwilliam Museum)
An overview of current and future initiatives involving digital technology within the galleries at the Fitzwilliam Museum. These include handheld electronic guides, image recognition and wireless networks. How do these technologies relate to the Museum’s interpretation strategy and how well do they fit with visitor requirements and expectations? What are the operational implications for a museum such as the Fitzwilliam?

3.30-3.50: Break for tea

3.50 to 5.00: SESSION 4 – MCG activity

Interim report on the ‘Semantic Web Thinktank’ (an AHRC-funded project
supported by the MCG)
Mike Lowndes (Interactive Media Manager – Natural History Museum)

25 Years of the MCG – a walk through the archive
Ross Parry (Lecturer in Museums and New Media – University of Leicester)

5.00 to 5.15: AOB and close

6.00-7.30 Celebratory Reception

Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ