April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Demonstrations: Description a wiki-based web site

Dina Helal, Whitney Museum of American Art, USA
Alexandra Nemerov, Whitney Museum of American Art, USA

The Whitney Museum of American Art's redesigned and expanded website,, incorporates innovative web technology and design to provide users with accessible and immediate ways to explore the Whitney’s exhibitions, programs, and preeminent collection of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art of the United States. As an integral part of the new site, the Whitney has commissioned a series of Internet art projects, which will appear briefly throughout the site at sunset and sunrise in New York City, marked by the website's background changing from white (day) to black (night) and vice versa.

For the first time, online visitors can explore a selection of nearly 400 works from the Whitney’s collection and an index of the more than 2,800 artists in the collection, indicating the number of works by each. Images can be viewed at full-screen or larger, and many artists in the collection are represented by multiple works. A broad range of video and audio produced by the Whitney to accompany and enhance a physical or virtual visit illuminates current and past exhibitions, works in the collection, public programs, and performances. Visitors can stream or download interpretative materials, including audio guides for the collection and exhibitions, and short videos featuring behind-the-scenes artist and curator commentary, complete with transcripts.

Visitors to the site can register for personal accounts allowing them to create a collection of their favorite works of art, exhibitions, or pages on the site. Users can add captions, rearrange page elements via a drag-and-drop feature, create their own slideshows, and share links to their collection. All pages of can be shared via email and online communities including Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and more. Visitors may subscribe to RSS feeds to be notified whenever site content is updated. Users can also add individual events and exhibitions to their personal calendar programs such as iCal, Outlook, and Google Calendar, or subscribe to receive automatic updates.

The site is managed using a unique, shared wiki-based interface allowing staff across the Museum to enter and manipulate text, images, audio, and video; vet content; and customize workflows to ensure accuracy and scholarship. This highly collaborative approach to site development and ongoing management is unique for a major cultural institution and allows for a distinct connection between Museum staff and the public.

Demonstration: Demonstrations - 1 [Close Up]

Keywords: website, redesign, innovative, wiki-based interface, collection