We have a new website!
February 14, 2013 - Helen Masters
The American Museum is re-launching its website a month ahead of what promises to be a very popular year. Helen Hayden, Groups and Marketing Manager, gives an account of how this came to be.
From little acorns, large oaks grow. This is certainly true when keeping up with the popularity and increasing usage of the internet in all its guises. Fifteen years ago, while I was still a volunteer, the American Museum arrived on the internet – nearly forty years after first opening to the public. The original website was very basic and it wasn’t long before it was redesigned to give more information about our events and exhibitions along with an abundance of colourful images. A re-branding at the Museum occurred a few years later and the website was brought in line with the new logo and streamlined in order to give visitors the information they needed at a glance. In our 52nd year, however, it is time for the next phase of the Museum’s life online.
We’ve all known for a while that we needed to bring the Museum more in line with other tourist attractions and the 21st century online generation. Last year seemed the ideal opportunity, having ridden the wonderful wave of our anniversary year in 2011, to gather together our thoughts and work with a website consultant to join the evolution. Having at first been part of a couple working towards this project I suddenly found myself heading a team in August trying to understand, communicate, and transfer ideas from all Museum staff on how the new website should look, should work, and what it should include.
A design by Genevieve Tarboton was agreed by the Director which encompassed many of the key elements that the colleagues had mentioned – clear, professional, fun, informative, and easy to navigate – and then the fun began!
With regular meetings and the wonderful skills of Cathryn Spence and Kate Hebert looking after the text and images and Melanie Repetski working on the events calendar, the website began to take shape. Mike and Rachel Ellis at Thirty8 Digital worked tirelessly behind the scenes to transfer all the text and images being sent through to them. By this time our Christmas season was approaching and Kate was juggling the construction of Museum displays whilst encouraging Museum Departments to let her know what images they wanted on their pages – quite a feat when working within the Museum collection rather than at your desk!
Rather pleasingly, everything has gone to schedule and we’re now in the process of ‘tweaking’. We know that nothing can be perfect, especially when we’ve all been staring at the same thing for a while, but we’ve given it a good shot!
We now have a fresh new look, compatible with all types of devices (from computer to smartphone), linked up with social media, and most importantly – easier navigation. From Monday 18th February, Presidents Day, our new look website will be live for all to access after months of hard work for which I thank the team.
We encourage everyone to explore the site, sign up for our monthly e-newsletters, give feedback and add it to your favourites to keep up to date with our events and activities. Enjoy!
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