At SHOT several weeks ago, we had a meeting of the TEMSIG group, the technology museums special interest group.* A small braintrust of public historians of technology (Allison March, Erik Nystrom, David Unger and I) had an exciting conversation.
We realized that most of us, and the many people interested in, broadly, the material culture of technology don’t often go to SHOT or are not particularly involved in that Society, but we do generally make the rounds of other conferences and associations, such as NCPH, AAM and Museums and the Web, where we talk about our work among people in intersecting, but not exactly the same fields. We are museum people, scholars, public historians and digital historians and have no particular disciplinary homes–so how can we connect, coordinate and collaborate?
We quickly realized that working only within SHOT was probably not useful for us, and we don’t have any interest in forming a new professional association**–so what’s next? We’re thinking about an informal coordinating committee with one basic aim being to improve communication with some further goals relating to collections (cooperative loans and exhibits), and an interest in nurturing and developing better tools for digitizing material culture (and the mat cult of technology in particular).
What’s next? Well, who’s in? Also, we need to develop a catchy name and a basic timeline of plans and goals. What do you think?
*I have no idea what the E stands for. Engineering? Or is it just for euphony?
**The way that professional organizations are broken is one of my personal hobby horses.