Staff Profile

Peter Samis, Associate Curator, Interpretive Media

Peter Samis currently serves as associate curator of interpretive media at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). A longtime leader in the field of education and technology, he worked previously as an interdepartmental curatorial assistant at SFMOMA (1988-1994), during which time he served as art historian/content expert for the first CD-ROM on modern art, American Visions: 20th-Century Art from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection (1993-94). In 1994 he transferred to the SFMOMA Education Department to spearhead development of multimedia programs for the opening of SFMOMA's new building in 1995.

Since the launch of the museum's Interactive Educational Technology programs in the mid-'90s, they have received numerous awards from sources as diverse as the American Association of Museums (AAM), the Webby Awards, Communication Arts magazine, Museums and the Web, the National Educational Media Network, and I.D. Magazine. Furthermore, Points of Departure, the first art exhibition to integrate handheld multimedia devices and touchscreen "smart tables" directly in the gallery setting, received AAM's 2002 Gold Muse Award for best use of new technologies in an art museum setting. SFMOMA won three more Muse Awards in 2006, including one for its podcast series, SFMOMA Artcasts.

Samis holds a bachelor's degree in religion from Columbia College, New York, and a master's degree in the history of art from the University of California, Berkeley. Samis has served on the board of the New Media Consortium, the governing councils of museum-focused open source or consortial initiatives such as Pachyderm 2.0, Art Babble, steve and Open Exhibits, and was a founding professor in the master's program for Technology-enhanced Communication for Cultural Heritage at the University of Lugano. Together with his team, he continues to produce innovative content for SFMOMA's galleries, website, podcasts, video channels, and Koret Visitor Education Center. He is currently engaged in a research project on best practices in museum interpretation.