TEMSIG History of Technology, Museums, and Public History Special Interest Group

Minutes of TEMSIG Meeting

SHOT--Copenhagen, April 20, 2012, 5pm

Many thanks to Sarah Scripps who compiled the meeting minutes from this year's TEMSIG Happy Hour in Copenhagen!

TEMSIG met on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:30pm at the Radisson Blu Falconer Hotel-Copenhagen as part of the 55th Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology.


Alex opened the discussion by inviting TEMSIG members to contribute to the Computer History Museum blog by sending him ideas or submissions of approximately 1,000 words on topics related to the history of computing. Alex stated that blogs are low-profile public outreach forums that can showcase museum collections without too much overhead. Eric H. suggested that blogs (such as the Smithsonian Lemelson Center blog) could serve as potential venues for intermuseum collaboration by creating online buzz or exchange across institutions.

Alex also suggested that TEMSIG could sponsor a roundtable or panel at the next SHOT meeting by either introducing TEMSIG to the broader SHOT community or discussing the similarities and differences between museums and the academy. Sheldon stated that the SHOT program committee would be favorable to a public history themed panel. Sheldon mentioned that museums have maintained longstanding presence in SHOT through museum-themed articles in T&C and the Dibner Award. Colin stated that during the San Jose SHOT meeting there was a lot of discussion about how to make SHOT more accessible the broader community. Per Vingaard mentioned that Danish museums have traditionally served as sites for academic research on technology, and that he was surprised that no panels this year focused on museums. Colin stated that the editors of T&C are also open to more exhibit reviews and artifact-based articles. Alex agreed to take the lead in forming a TEMSIG themed panel or roundtable for the 2013 SHOT meeting.

Sarah mentioned that she was filling in for TEMSIG co-chairs Allison Marsh and Eric Nystrom during the SIG planning meeting with Bernie Carlson. Sarah stated that she will be making three requests:

  1. TEMSIG members would like to keep a happy hour cocktail slot that does not conflict with a plenary or keynote
  2. TEMSIG would like to pass along endorsement of individual sessions as they go through the general response to the call for papers, and
  3. TEMSIG would like to know the overall SHOT meeting timeline earlier in order to plan TEMSIG museum tours farther in advance.

Members discussed Debbie Douglas's suggestion to organize a pre-meeting in Boston next year prior to the SHOT meeting in Portland [Maine]. Sheldon, Alex, Bob, and Eric would like more specific information on the agenda as well as potential costs. Colin and Elizabeth stated that a TEMSIG premeeting could make traveling to the United States potentially more worthwhile. Members agreed to set a pre-meeting agenda early to provide enough time for everyone to decide whether they could attend.

The meeting adjourned at 7:15pm.


Sheldon suggested expanding TEMSIG beyond a scope limited only to museums. Erik Rau [in an email to the list] raised the point as well, specifically mentioning libraries and archives. Rau also suggested TEMSIG possibly havinf a role in featuring new collections and/or research opportunities that become available.

[Minutes posted to the list Oct. 19, 2012; corrections Oct. 22]