ABOUT THE CHRYSLER MUSEUM
The Chrysler Museum of Art has a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The core of the Chrysler’s collection comes from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum. The Museum has growing collections in many areas and mounts an ambitious schedule of visiting exhibitions and educational programs. The Chrysler has also been recognized nationally for its unique commitment to hospitality with its innovative gallery host program.
The Perry Glass Studio is a state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. The Studio offers programming for aspiring and master artists alike in a variety of processes and has also cultivated a reputation for its cutting-edge performance evenings.
In addition, the Chrysler Museum of Art administers two historic houses in downtown Norfolk: the Moses Myers House and the Willoughby-Baylor House, as well as the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library on the campus of Old Dominion University. General admission is free at all venues.
WEBSITE PROJECT DESCRIPTION
In the spring of 2018, the Chrysler Museum of Art undertook a project to reimagine and redesign Chrysler.org. The existing site was built in 2011. The Museum has had an online presence since 1998 and was very early to digitize the entire art collection. However, the existing site did not convey the energy and openness of the current Chrysler. The site was also not mobile friendly and had a number of accessibility issues.
The Museum worked with Drexler, a creative design studio from Baltimore, Maryland, Gallery Systems, and Blackbaud’s Altru. We had an aggressive 6-month schedule and launched our new site in the second week of December 2018.
For many people, art museums can be intimidating and overwhelming. One of our main goals was to make the Museum feel as warm and welcoming online as it does in person. Admission to the Museum is free and we wanted the critical visitor information, hours, parking, etc. to be available immediately. The previous site was bogged down with outdated content and text heavy. The Museum, Glass Studio, Houses, and Library felt like disparate entities. We wanted to unite them and show how they are interconnected and relevant to visitors. By using clear branding elements, we have provided consistency to the pages without repetition.
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. We used “Chrysler Blue” throughout the site but made certain to allow for ample white space.
To add to our visitors’ experiences in the Museum, we created tailored guides to help people plan their visits, whether they have an hour to spend, are visiting with children, or want to see the collection highlights. 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 in the footer of every page. This displays an object in the Museum catalog, with a photo, one random piece at a time. Each object connects to its full record in eMuseum.
The Chrysler Museum Glass Studio is a heavy content creator and we have an extensive exhibition archive. We used a filterable archive system to ease the search and inspire more exploration of the vast amount of content.
Another of our main goals was to cross-promote Museum and Glass Studio content throughout. The site lives on a highly customized WordPress admin. Instead of building it page by page, we took a modular approach. This means that any section can be utilized anywhere else on the site. Not only are we are able to highlight and promote exhibitions and programming on multiple pages, but this also made development and content population simpler and more efficient.
The Museum worked with Gallery Systems and Blackbaud to customize the third party hosted sites to match the branding of chrysler.org.
With such a new site, we continue to add content and are closely monitoring user experience. Our Gallery Hosts have a log to monitor visit comments and phone calls. The site has been very well received and we are elated about our new online presence.
Project story: https://drxlr.com/work/chrysler-museum-of-art