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Museums and the Web

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

The Strong

Institution: 

The Strong (National Museum of Play, Toy Hall of Fame, ICHEG, National Toy Hall of Fame)

Designer: 

in-house

Category: 

Research | Online Collection

Why

thestrong.org is a portal site that brings together the disparate "play partners" associated with the overall "Strong" brand:  The National Museum of Play, The International Center for the History of Electronic Games, The National Toy Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton Smith Library and Archives, and the American Journal of Play.

This site excels in several aspects, from whimsical yet elegant and academic-minded aesthetics to information architeacture & great use of social media hooks.  This particular nomination points out the manner in which the collections are represented (http://www.thestrong.org/online-collections/) in a visual, fun-to-browse format that is image-driven and uses several different navigation techniques to allow the visitor to chart their own course.

The online collections functionality is a custom-created, dynamically-generated collections portal that builds itself from an xml export from the collections system, ensuring modularity and independence from any particular collections management system. 

The site as a whole utilizes the collections searchability and keywording to break the entire collection down into sub-categories based on play partners, exhibits, or specific projects and then links to specific objects or sub-categorizations from exhibits pages and blogs to introduce visitors to the collections through other venues tha simple "online collections portals" (click on any images or links within http://www.museumofplay.org/blog/play-stuff/2011/02/mermaid-memories/ for example). 

Of particular note the Play Partners of The Strong keep a consistent overall brand while ensuring each Play Partner site has a unique sub-brand and identity.