Developing software to manage collections since 1985
Bil Vernon founded Vernon Systems in 1985 after developing a custom dealer gallery application. From this initial system he saw the need for a general museum and gallery cataloguing system, and he began work on a prototype of the world’s first commercial PC-based museum system.
After an enthusiastic response at the 1986 Conference of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), Bil developed the first release. The system was named COLLECTION and was built in accordance with the Museum Documentation Association (now Collections Trust) data standards.
Georgia Lowe joined the company in 1987, and COLLECTION was launched at the museum conferences later that year. There was immediate interest, leading to the customisation of the system for our first two clients: Cincinnati Art Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney, Australia). The flexibility of the system continues to be one of our trademarks.
Standard COLLECTION released
In 1992 development of the ready-to-run package version, Standard COLLECTION commenced. Institutions of all sizes and collection types around the world have adopted this, with sites later upgrading to the Windows version (released in 1997). Vernon Browser was released in 2002.
Vernon CMS released
In 2003 COLLECTION was re-launched as Vernon CMS to create a more unified company and product brand.
In 2008 we released eHive, one of the first software-as-a-service collection management systems. Organisations and collectors using eHive simply sign up for an account online and can immediately start using the system to catalogue and publish their collections. eHive has been used as the foundation of the NZMuseums website portal, representing all of the 400 museums in New Zealand.
Vernon Systems and our products have won several awards, including the ‘Most Successful Export Software Award’ in New Zealand’s Computer Software Awards and ‘The KPMG Peat Marwick Export Excellence Award for a New Exporter’.
Bil retired in 2007 and Georgia retired in 2011, with Paul Rowe taking over as CEO.
Along with our headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand, we also have offices in London and South Africa. Our broad team includes museum professionals, research and development staff, technical writers, support staff and trainers. At almost any time of day there is a Vernon Systems representative working for our customers.