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February 21st Newsletter


Welcome to the SIMCAC Weekly Newsletter....
....Where each week, we continue to share SIMCAC announcements, member spotlights, career opportunities shared by members, local & national industry news, upcoming events, and recaps of past ones! 

SIMCAC Member Article by Michael Weygandt

Michael Weygandt, SIMCAC Member and Museum of the Bible's Director of Technology, wrote a perfectly timed article, which describes what it is like to be the Head of Technology for a state-of-the-art, technologically-advanced museum.  Michael is hosting SIMCAC's first CxO Exclusive Roundtable (now Sold Out!) this upcoming Tuesday morning, and he will be giving a private tour of the museum to all attendees.  This is definitely a must read article.

Dusty old books in glass cases. That is likely the first impression in your mind when you read the name of the organization.  Museum of the Bible is exactly the opposite of a stuffy boring museum of old stuff.  Touted as the “most technologically advanced museum in the world” it gives the patron an immersive, interactive, and engaging experience above any other institution of its type.  You get a sense of this as you walk through the entry doors and see 140-foot-long horizontally suspended LED screen hanging from the ceiling three stories above the floor.  This continues throughout the galleries where there are 143 interactive experiences to educate and entertain.

Though the interactive experiences are spectacular, the museum is not an attraction or an amusement park.  We have a very specific mission statement, which is to engage all people with the Bible.  The Bible is the most printed, studied, and debated book in history.  We believe there is transformative power in this book, and that every person will find something that speaks to them within its pages.  The three main exhibit floors take the patron through the history, stories, and impact of the Bible.  
As the head of Technology, I deal with the same basic issues that are common in any organization.  I have the added opportunity to dive in on many creative and cutting-edge technologies that are uncommon in many businesses.  We have an exhibit featuring virtual reality, and we’ve experimented with augmented and mixed reality.  We are currently working on 3D holographic projection for an exhibit that will open early next year.  The idea of using blockchain has been introduced as a potential way to facilitate artifact and object tracking to improve provenance and authentication.

The common IT challenges are no stranger to me as well.  Cybersecurity is one of our chief concerns.  We must make sure our constituents, both patrons and donors, can trust us with their personal information and ensure their financial transactions are protected.  Compliance battles are fought at every level while trying to make the computer systems as open and user friendly as possible.  This work is not as glamorous as holograms and VR, but it is essential to life and longevity of the mission.


It’s easy to get distracted by moving walls, light shows, touchscreens, and projectors.  These technologies are high impact and customer facing, but it’s all a house of cards unless it’s backed by solid IT service management and well implemented network architecture.  This reality slaps you in the face when half the screens on the impact floor are black because the Virtual Machine host collapsed, and the content management system is offline.  Panic begins to set in as I realize that over 1,000 patrons are going to walk away having had a bad experience because of the technical failure.

Backup and disaster recovery mechanisms become a critical component of overall IT strategy.  Often the traditional recovery models aren’t adequate, and the installing vendor didn’t work redundancies into their experience.  After all, who do you know that sells a “bare-metal backup” system for a 3,000 lbs. moving wall?  What about a 30ft tall by 40ft wide projector screen that slips off its rollers?  Yes, these are actual disasters we’ve had to recover.  Every minute these things are down turns into a negative experience for dozens of patrons, not to mention the life safety issues.
The good news is that despite technical glitches, there are tens of thousands of patrons that walk away having had the most thrilling Bible engagement experience of their lives.  In 2019, our Hebrew Bible Exhibit won a Thea Award from the Themed Entertainment Association for best Museum Exhibit.  We also live streamed the unveiling of the Washington Pentateuch which is one of the oldest, most-complete, Jewish Bible manuscripts in the United States.  It had not been seen by the public in over 1,000 years.  Another highlight exhibit was The Tapestry of Light that used nanotechnology and phosphorescent threads in the first full-visual interpretation of John’s Apocalypse in tapestry form in over 500 years.
With groundbreaking exhibits using new and immersive technologies, being the head of technology is certainly not boring.  However, the most common Service Desk support request is still a forgotten password.  I spend a lot of my time explaining what “the cloud” is to management.  I’m challenged to find and retain talent.  I manage my budget.  And when I go to bed at night, I pray I wake up to the alarm clock and not a technical incident alert.  So, at its core I run a pretty typical IT shop.

Hopefully I’ve shattered the “dusty old books” image in your mind.  Museum of the Bible will be the most amazing and engaging experience you can have with the Bible.  The technology is advanced and there is lots of it.  If you get excited about the Bible, or about technology, you should come check us out.  You’ll be glad you did.

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