IMA Collections Management Overhaul

Completely overhauling a museum's collections management infrastructure. Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2004


This project involved a complete overhaul (and eventual replacement) of the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s collections management technology. The project, one of my first in a museum, involved several components, including:

  • Normalizing decades of messy collections data with custom Perl scripts (it was 2003);
  • Automating the production of accession cards and exhibition checklists and publishing them directly from the CMS for the first time;
  • Developing and publishing a logical workflow for the entering of collections data;
  • Applying controlled vocabularies to data entry;
  • Developing more efficient reporting based on the newly-normalized data;
  • Evaluating multiple replacement collections management systems;
  • Migrating data and reports from the old CMS (Argus) to the replacement CMS (Ke Emu, now Axiell).

A majority of these components were completed in the first year of the project, with the final CMS replacement and migration occurring in the year following.