The Software Agents - Episode 2: Art Museums Get Smart

Written by: Christina Noren
2 min read
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The Software Agents is a new podcast series sponsored by CloudBees. Each week we bring you leaders from many fields applying software to reimagine them for the new world under construction. Listen to the second episode here.

Our guest this week on The Software Agents is Rich Cherry, managing partner at Museum Operations, a consulting agency. He’s also co-chair of the MuseWeb conferences. Rich has been a leader in museum IT for two decades at such storied institutions as the Guggenheim and the Albright Knox Gallery. He is widely credited with having managed the entire construction, launch and operations design for The Broad Museum in Los Angeles in recent years. 

In this podcast, we ask Rich to tell us about the journey that a computer-tinkering kid took through systems support in the Marines, and IT jobs in banking, to the arcane world of art museums. He takes us into the inner workings of nonprofit museums, where the context and goals for software and technology are very different from those at for-profit attractions.

Rich describes the groundbreaking software systems that he and his team built at The Broad. These enabled The Broad to serve some of the biggest crowds in L.A. in the two years since its launch, despite the challenges of working in an unusual physical space with a smaller-than-usual staff. 

We explore how the flexibility and power of these software systems will help The Broad and other institutions around the world meet the challenges of re-opening to the public. 

Rich also muses on the possibilities for completely new digital experiences for museum exhibits and collections. Just as shopping online misses much of the in-store experience, looking at digital images of artwork misses aspects of a museum trip that we might not have noticed.

Both live and digital museum experiences are evolving, even as museums wait to reopen. Thanks to software, they may actually be better.

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