Honoring Ed Bachta – Announcing the 2014 Bachta Scholarship Award Winners

It has been fifteen months since the death of Ed Bachta, and we still miss our friend and colleague. Ed was a devoted and productive member of the museum technology community whose quiet gentleness and unwavering decency were balanced by his relentless curiosity and quirky intelligence.

Ed, a developer on the IMA Lab team, loved the Museums and the Web conference, where he was a regular presenter and an avid learner. The conference was a haven for him as it is for many of us, and he was at home amongst a community of peers who embrace the unique interests, varied talents, and disparate temperaments of our membership.

We’ve chosen to memorialize Ed by establishing a scholarship fund in his honor. We’re grateful to everyone who contributed last year: your generosity has made it possible for us to make inaugural awards to two members of the community, one a long-established museum professional, the other a relative newcomer to our cohort. Our awardees, Liz Neely and Paige Hicks, who are profiled briefly below, share qualities of Ed’s that we remember with fondness, and we believe he would be delighted and proud to know that they are carrying on his legacy.

By the way: we decided to postpone our regular Thursday night party and fundraising event this year and to hold it instead in Dallas during the Museum Computer Network conference in November. Keep an eye out for more information about that party and how to contribute to the scholarship fund this year.

Liz Neely

We’re pleased to have been able to make an award to Liz Neely to support her attendance at MW 2014. Liz, Director of Digital Information and Access at the Art Institute of Chicago, worked with Ed on the Getty-funded Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI). She shared with Ed a curiosity about science and its application in art museums, and her curiosity led to her pioneering advocacy for the use of emerging technologies such as 3D printing and wearable tech in museums. Liz has recently announced that she will be leaving the Art Institute in June of this year to live in the mountains of New Mexico. We think that Ed, who savored his everyday interactions with nature and the outdoors, would smile to think of Liz running through the New Mexico tundra.

Paige Hicks

Paige Hicks, a newcomer to the field, has been awarded a full scholarship to Museums and the Web 2014. She is an artist whose original media are theater, film, and television. Now a student in the graduate program in interactive media at New Mexico Highlands University, she programmed the Kinect functionality for the memorable digital marionette project developed by Miriam Langer and her team that was demonstrated at MCN 2013 and will be discussing her research into electronic paper labeling systems during the demo sessions at MW. Paige, like Ed, is a developer with a special love of gaming. Our colleagues at Museums and the Web have helped to make this scholarship possible, by contributing a full registration, and we are grateful to them.

Congratulations to Liz and Paige! We’ve invited both of them to help us to select the next class of Bachta Scholarship awardees—keep an eye on this space for an announcement about next year’s award competition.

The Ed Bachta Memorial Scholarship Team

Members of the IMA Lab Team, past and present:

  • Charlie Moad
  • Emily Lytle-Painter
  • Gray Bowman
  • Kris Arnold
  • Kyle Jaebker
  • Matt Gipson
  • Rita Troyer
  • Rob Stein
  • Tiffany Leason

And other friends of Ed:

  • Bruce Wyman
  • Leo Ballate
  • Nancy Proctor
  • Rich Cherry
  • Susan Chun
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About Susan Chun

Susan Chun is Chief Content Officer at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago where she is responsible for the publishing, design, and new media division. Her work focuses on publishing; information management and collections aggregation; cultural data, intellectual property policy and open content initiatives; visualization; and advanced search strategies. She has led a number of pioneering multi-institutional research and development projects in the museum and library community including Steve: The Museum Social Tagging Project. She currently serves as research director for Project Audience, an interdisciplinary collaboration of arts and culture organizations founded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, managing Project Audience's research into the uses of cultural event data. She researches, writes, teaches, and lectures regularly on museum publishing, IP policy, open content initiatives, information management, cataloguing, digitization, search and access, and social software. Susan’s background in publishing includes work as an editor and publications manager at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Alfred A. Knopf, and the Asia Society, as well as fifteen years’ employment at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she managed the museum’s scholarly publishing program, handled its co-edition and international publishing contracts, and negotiated a worldwide distribution deal with Yale University Press. As the Met’s first Senior Editor for New Media, she served as editorial advisor for the launch of www.metmuseum.org, was on the team that planned its award-winning Timeline of Art History, and managed the development of the museum’s earliest electronic publications. Later, as General Manager for Collections Information Planning in the Office of the Director, she was responsible for developing museum policy and strategy for intellectual property, asset management and archiving, digital imaging and licensing, cataloguing, and standards, and planned and managed Met Images, the museum’s first-ever digital asset management project. She serves on the advisory committee of Conservation Reel, as a convening member of the Content Strategy Committee of the Digital Public Library of America, as a member of the National Education Advisory Council for Art 21, and as a publisher for Museums and the Web. She is a former faculty member in the graduate museum studies programs at the University of Lugano (Switzerland) and Johns Hopkins University.

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