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webpick of the week

Maison Francaise

Education, Consumer

Columbia University’s Maison Française has served as an educational and cultural hub between the English- and French-speaking worlds in New York for 100 years. To celebrate the Maison’s first century and usher in the next, designer Marc Blaustein created a logo, commemorative book, a physical exhibition and the Maison Française Centennial website. The site is an expanded online version of the gallery exhibition, and takes advantage of online capabilities to provide rich, immersive content. A media and archives section provides a living repository of the Maison’s photographs, documents, audio and video recordings. There are also two special features: a Centennial Highlights section and a selection of pages from former director Eugene Sheffer’s photo album, in addition to current news, events and information about the organization.

The website is powered by a PHP-based content management system created by developer Alex Smoller. The system was customized to let anyone in the organization make quick and easy content updates. The site’s design offers multiple access points to the many layers of content through a clean, user-friendly interface. You can choose to skim through the narrative on a cursory level, delve further into the online exhibition or lose yourself in the minutiae of the archives. Francophones will be pleased to know that an all-French version of the site is in the works.