Chicago — Chicago’s museum of African-American history has taken a
leadership role in educating city residents about the Y2K problem.
Hank Dungee, director of information technology at the DuSable
Museum of African-American History, organized a seminar series
titled ‘Y2K and the African-American Community’ after being
bombarded with calls from people worried about a citywide shutdown
of utilities and essential services.
The museum’s Y2K seminar series is broadcast to members of the
Chicago Consortium for Higher Education, a group of 43 area
colleges, universities and museums. Teleconferencing, made possible
by a new information technology pavilion, allows participants at
auxiliary sites to pose questions and participate in
The initiative is part of an emerging concept Dungee calls the
‘museum without walls’ in which museums help citizens understand
the present as well as the past.
The first Y2K seminar in April had a combined museum and
auxiliary site audience of approximately 1,200 people, said Dungee.
Speakers included representatives from local, state and federal
government, banking and technology industries, and utility
The questions asked at the first seminar made it clear to Dungee
that many people were in need of more background information about
Y2K. So the second seminar, held on June 16, focused on explaining
the reasons for Year 2000 dilemma. A 10-minute animated video
preceded the discussion for this purpose. The second seminar
attracted 1,600 people.
In mid-September, a third seminar will address issues involving
companies that have not met compliance as of that point, Dungee
said. He plans to have that meeting broadcast via satellite — in
addition to interactive television — to reach a broader
Underwritten by local businesses, the seminars are free. Talks
in the series assume no prior technical knowledge because of the
area’s low computer literacy rate, Dungee said.
The museum has a Y2K reference page on its web site for
Chicago-area residents with Y2K concerns: . The page contains links
to compliance statements of municipalities, businesses and
Background: Dungee operates the Black Chicago On Line web
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