Museum Computer Network Is Founded

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In 1967, an informal group of museums in the New York City area established the Museum Computer Network (MCN) with the goal of automating their registration records. With funding from the New York Council on the Arts, MCN developed a prototype mainframe network that was shared by participants from 1968 to 1971. When the funding ended in 1971, MCN was formally incorporated as a nonprofit organization that has since attracted members from around the world. As new technology superseded the original shared registration system, MCN evolved into a network of dedicated professionals wishing to improve their means of developing, managing, and conveying museum information through the use of automation. Through annual conferences that began in 1972, MCN has supported the dissemination of information about the use of computers in museum practice.


Museum Computer Network


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • The records of the Museum Computer Network are held at Smithsonian Institution Archives
  • "A Brief History of the Museum Computer Network," by Marla Misunas and Richard Urban, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, 2007.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Professional associations
  • Computer systems
  • Information storage and retrieval systems
  • Accessions
  • Data processing
  • Museums
  • Electronic data processing
  • Museum techniques


New York (N.Y.)

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