Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

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Tales of the Unexpected: A Pragmatic and Candid View of Life Post-Launch

TitleTales of the Unexpected: A Pragmatic and Candid View of Life Post-Launch
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMitroff Silvers, D., Sexton C., & Burnette A.
Secondary TitleMuseums and the Web 2010. Proceedings
Conference Start DateApril 13-17, 201
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedDenver, Colorado, USA
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordsevaluation, launch, lessons, metrics, mini-workshop, MW, MW2010, redesign, strategy, success

Our paper continues the discussions and analysis begun at MW2009 in the paper, "Redesigning Your Museum's Web Site: A Survivors' Guide" ( Using real-life stories and examples from the post-launch lives of The Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA), the National Gallery, London (NG), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), we will reflect upon the often overlooked and under-considered period in most on-line projects: post-launch.While our previous paper explored the shared joys and challenges we faced in planning, developing, and deploying new and improved institutional Web sites, this paper and subsequent presentation will offer pragmatic and candid insights into our lives after the launch. We'll reflect upon what we did right and what could have been done differently, discuss results that we expected to find and those that were a surprise, and recount some practical lessons learned. Some of the issues covered include the unexpected impact of a redesign on an organization's strategic planning, the sobering limitations of what a content management system (CMS) can and can't do, and the ongoing difficulties of measuring success. By continuing the discussions we began in our first paper, we hope to offer the wider museum community an opportunity to tap into the first-hand knowledge and experience we gained from our three respective projects.