Honoring Ed Bachta – Announcing the 2014 Bachta Scholarship Award Winners

It has been fifteen months since the death of Ed Bachta, and we still miss our friend and colleague. Ed was a devoted and productive member of the museum technology community whose quiet gentleness and unwavering decency were balanced by his relentless curiosity and quirky intelligence.

Ed, a developer on the IMA Lab team, loved the Museums and the Web conference, where he was a regular presenter and an avid learner. The conference was a haven for him as it is for many of us, and he was at home amongst a community of peers who embrace the unique interests, varied talents, and disparate temperaments of our membership.

We’ve chosen to memorialize Ed by establishing a scholarship fund in his honor. We’re grateful to everyone who contributed last year: your generosity has made it possible for us to make inaugural awards to two members of the community, one a long-established museum professional, the other a relative newcomer to our cohort. Our awardees, Liz Neely and Paige Hicks, who are profiled briefly below, share qualities of Ed’s that we remember with fondness, and we believe he would be delighted and proud to know that they are carrying on his legacy.

By the way: we decided to postpone our regular Thursday night party and fundraising event this year and to hold it instead in Dallas during the Museum Computer Network conference in November. Keep an eye out for more information about that party and how to contribute to the scholarship fund this year.

Liz Neely

We’re pleased to have been able to make an award to Liz Neely to support her attendance at MW 2014. Liz, Director of Digital Information and Access at the Art Institute of Chicago, worked with Ed on the Getty-funded Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI). She shared with Ed a curiosity about science and its application in art museums, and her curiosity led to her pioneering advocacy for the use of emerging technologies such as 3D printing and wearable tech in museums. Liz has recently announced that she will be leaving the Art Institute in June of this year to live in the mountains of New Mexico. We think that Ed, who savored his everyday interactions with nature and the outdoors, would smile to think of Liz running through the New Mexico tundra.

Paige Hicks

Paige Hicks, a newcomer to the field, has been awarded a full scholarship to Museums and the Web 2014. She is an artist whose original media are theater, film, and television. Now a student in the graduate program in interactive media at New Mexico Highlands University, she programmed the Kinect functionality for the memorable digital marionette project developed by Miriam Langer and her team that was demonstrated at MCN 2013 and will be discussing her research into electronic paper labeling systems during the demo sessions at MW. Paige, like Ed, is a developer with a special love of gaming. Our colleagues at Museums and the Web have helped to make this scholarship possible, by contributing a full registration, and we are grateful to them.

Congratulations to Liz and Paige! We’ve invited both of them to help us to select the next class of Bachta Scholarship awardees—keep an eye on this space for an announcement about next year’s award competition.

The Ed Bachta Memorial Scholarship Team

Members of the IMA Lab Team, past and present:

  • Charlie Moad
  • Emily Lytle-Painter
  • Gray Bowman
  • Kris Arnold
  • Kyle Jaebker
  • Matt Gipson
  • Rita Troyer
  • Rob Stein
  • Tiffany Leason

And other friends of Ed:

  • Bruce Wyman
  • Leo Ballate
  • Nancy Proctor
  • Rich Cherry
  • Susan Chun