Responses by Drexler
Background: The Chrysler Museum of Art is a world-class art museum located in Norfolk, Virginia. Though the museum has a collection of more than 30,000 works, an amazing glass art studio and a full calendar of class and events, the old site did little to showcase everything it offers. With an ambitious mission to “bring art and people together through experiences that delight, inform, and inspire,” the Chrysler Museum of Art needed a fresh, modern site to help achieve its goals.
Highlights: One of our main goals was to make the museum feel as warm and welcoming online as it does in person. For many people, art museums can be intimidating and overwhelming. To address this, we created tailored guides to help users plan their visits, whether they only have an hour to spend, are visiting with children or want to see all of the collection highlights.
Challenges: The Chrysler Museum of Art has a sprawling collection, a rich history, and several classes and events available almost everyday. Our biggest challenges were organizing all the content, making it feel accessible and welcoming and reducing the intimidation factor inherent in so many museum experiences.
Favorite details: The Chrysler Museum has a catalog of more than 30,000 works of art. Previously, this catalog was seriously underutilized. One feature we introduced was the Art Randomizer at the bottom of every page. This randomly displays the full museum catalog, one random piece at a time. Similarly, our 404 page enabled us to have some fun with the code and provides a nice Easter egg of motion and spatial exploration, displaying the collection in a new way.
Navigational structure: We tried to boil down the main navigation to only the most critical actions—exploring art, planning visits and understanding learning opportunities. The use of mega menus enables us to keep the navigation simple while still helping users to access all information with minimal clicks.
Technical features: The site was built on a highly customized Wordpress admin. Instead of building the site page by page, we took a module approach to development, which means that any section on any page can be repurposed for other pages. This made development and content population quicker and more efficient. Additionally, we utilized the eMuseum API to pull in 30,000 plus works of art into our Art Randomizer feature.