April 24, 2009

Happy SFMOMA Anniversary Peter Samis


Peter Samis, ever generous, often smiling, here with pot of plastic daffodils, just after participating in MTAA’s Automatic for the People performance on our third-floor landing this February past.

Every now and again the Education Department, of which I am a part, takes some time out of the office to celebrate milestones, achievements, survival, etc. This afternoon we’re going out to do that, and — while there are many people and things to applaud, we’ll be especially celebrating one achievement in particular. Because this is the SFMOMA *blog* I want to give a special shout-out to our Associate Curator of Interpretation, Peter Samis, who came to work for SFMOMA twenty years ago…not insignificantly, right around the time the World Wide Web as we know it was invented. As many in the online museum community will know, Peter Samis was the art historian/content expert for the first-ever CD-ROM on modern art,  and it was Peter who spearheaded development of multimedia programs at SFMOMA super early on, really forging the way in the field of museum technologies used in service of education. Under his leadership, SFMOMA’s Interactive Education Technologies team has won a bazillion awards, but more important of course is the fact of all us  in the galleries (and at home, armchair-museum-going) who’ve really benefited from the interpretive programs Peter’s helped define and develop. Peter’s devotion to making modern and contemporary art accessible (in his own words  “relevant, resonant, and exciting”) to everyday people  —   is a fantastic gift.

You kick it, Peter. Twenty years later. You can get here from there. Thanks.

Comments (4)

  • Zahava D. Doering says:

    Hi Peter,
    That’s quite an accomplishment!
    I owe you a drink by the pool…

  • Peter,

    Congratulations! I know that I speak for many in saying that you are truly an inspiration to all in the museum tech world. It is a privilege and an honor to know you!


  • Once at a past Museums and the Web conference (http://www.archimuse.com/conferences/mw.html), we were getting onto a tour bus to go to an offsite reception with all the other conference attendees. I was walking down the aisle of the bus behind Peter. It was like walking behind Barak Obama. Everyone on the bus was high-fiving him as he passed, heads were turning, and everyone was yelling out “Hi Peter” “Hi Peter” as he walked down the aisle. I felt like the invisible Secret Service agent walking behind the President!! He truly knows EVERYONE in the field. I can’t go to a conference without at least two people coming up to me and saying, “Oh, you work at SFMOMA. Do you work with Peter Samis?”

    Yes, I DO work with Peter Samis, that Peter Samis. And I can say that he is truly an indefatigable force of ideas, energy, and inspiration!

  • Congratulations Peter! Thank you (a thousand times) for all of your thoughtful and groundbreaking work.

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