Museums and the Web

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Redesigning Your Museum’s Website: A Survivor’s Guide

TitleRedesigning Your Museum’s Website: A Survivor’s Guide
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMitroff Silvers, D., Sexton C., Champagne J., & Burnette A.
Secondary TitleMuseums and the Web 2009. Proceedings
Conference Start DateApril 15-18, 200
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedIndianapolis, Indiana, USA
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordscontent management system, leadership, mini-workshop, redesign, research, specifications, strategy, users

Using case studies from the Web site redesigns of The Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA), the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (NGA), the National Gallery, London, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), this paper considers the changing role of museum Web sites, outlines the goals of the respective projects, compares and contrasts the different approaches taken, and presents valuable insights from the four institutions.As of publication, the museums represent the different cycles of a Web site redesign initiative: NGA is in the discovery and strategy phase, the National Gallery and MoMA are in the development stage, and the new SFMOMA site is live. Together the authors of this paper explore the shared challenges we faced in planning, developing, and deploying new and improved Web sites, and present some of the valuable, and painful, lessons learned.These lessons — applicable to organizations of all sizes — include how to manage staff input, how to keep team momentum and enthusiasm, and how to evaluate all technology options. Within these practical discussions, we also touch upon some of the fundamental, strategic considerations involved in the preparation and planning of a major, cross-departmental endeavor. We hope to offer the wider museum community an opportunity to tap into our recently acquired first-hand knowledge and experience.