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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Web site metamorphosis

TitleWeb site metamorphosis
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsO'Dowd, A.
Secondary TitleMuseums and the Web 2002: Proceedings
Conference Start DateApril 17 -20
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedBoston, Massachusetts, USA
EditorBearman, D., & Trant J.

Museum web sites are distinctive animals in the world of the web. To be successful, they must meet a variety of needs which range from satisfying the basics, like mentioning hours of operation, to providing food for thought on say, changing the world or maybe just contemporary culture as we know it. On top of this, museum sites constantly evolve depending on exhibitions, field research or events going on in the physical world. How can one design unite all this information? Further, as a designer, how do you even start?

This paper exposes the re-design and information architecture process undertaken to recreate the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum web site. Various aspects of the process will be discussed: developing thumbnail sketches for the look and architecture of the site; collaborating harmoniously with numerous colleagues from all arms of the museum; analyzing inspirational sites; incorporating vast quantities of information in a non-repetitive way, attempting to give a web visitor the 'museum' experience; and most importantly bringing the content to bear.

There was a time when even the simple addition of content (bulk) to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum web site only served to make it unwieldy and reveal an awkward organization of information. A significant transformation was inevitable. The desire, of course, was to change from a creature of vital functions to one of elegance.


Full paper not submitted.