by Alice Dragoon

Museum of Modern Art Gets Bold Infrastructure

Aug 15, 20052 mins
Data Center


As part of the three-year renovation and expansion of the New York Museum of Modern Art’s mid-20th century building, CIO Steve Peltzman oversaw the design and implementation of the mus-eum’s new IT infrastructure. A sculptor and former U.S. Air Force officer who developed and assessed stealth technology and tactics for the B-2 bomber, Peltzman was vigilant about keeping IT very much behind the scenes so that it wouldn’t detract from the art. The result: New technology helps the museum run more smoothly and provides a richer experience for museum and website visitors. This exercise in undercover boldness earned the Museum of Modern Art a 2005 CIO 100 award. Here’s a snapshot of IT in (covert) action at MoMA.


The Red Studio by Henri Matisse is one of more than 20,000 images of MoMA artwork that visitors to MoMA’s website,, can view online. MoMA is putting a digitized version of most of its artwork into a centralized database which will be used for the online collection, publications and collections management.


Visitors can download free audio guide presentations from the museum’s website to their own MP3 players.


Membership cards printed in the lobby can be used immediately. The bar code holds information about members’ guest and discount privileges at the MoMA store.


Some 75 wireless nodes are installed on ceilings throughout the galleries. As museum staff install artwork, they can wirelessly access the museum’s collections management system to log installation details as they go.


To keep visitors’ eyes on the artwork, the building was designed with “architectural cleanliness” in mind, says Peltzman. Power is supplied from ceiling panels or through the bottom of some movable gallery walls.