Cleveland (May 5, 2010) — The Cleveland Museum of Art has launched an innovative website that allows patrons to customize the information they receive and gives visitors from across the globe the ability to engage more fully with the museum's collection. Working with museum staff, award-winning New York firm Pentagram designed the site, with development by Cincinnati-based LUCRUM.
Chief among the innovations of the new www.ClevelandArt.org is its ability to offer a customized experience for each visitor. All those who visit the site will be encouraged to create an online user profile. They'll choose the areas within the museum's collection — such as European painting or contemporary art — as well as the programming options — including lectures, classes or performances — that interest them. Subsequently, whenever they log in to the site, the messages on their homepages will be tailored to reflect the interests they selected. Museum members will also find a private section devoted to news and events for them.
"We're very pleased with how our new website celebrates the breadth of the museum's collection and connects online visitors to the museum in new and engaging ways," says Cindy Fink, director of marketing and communications at the Cleveland Museum of Art. "In planning the new site, we looked outside of our category of museums to examine the best online practices of retail and consumer product brands, as well as to address the transformation in online habits resulting from the evolving and growing use of social media.
"Now, regardless of whether they're planning a visit, conducting research, shopping for gifts, updating memberships or making donations, visitors to our new site will find it to be a single destination for all of these activities," says Fink. "At the same time, they'll truly be able to see the site as they want to see it, customized with the information they've told us is most important to them."
The new website provides enhanced access to the museum's encyclopedic collection and puts its iconic works of art at the forefront of the online visitor's experience. Extensive photography has been integrated into the site design on every page. Interaction is encouraged, as visitors are invited to add comments to their favorite objects or tag them with key words so that they are easier for others to find.
Additionally, the new site makes more expansive use of multimedia features that provide diverse perspectives on individual works of art and offer behind-the-scenes views of areas within the museum that are not accessible to the general public.
"When we designed the site, we focused on the needs of the museum's two main audiences," says Lisa Strausfeld, partner at Pentagram. "Local members visit regularly to view art and enjoy museum events. Global art enthusiasts come for the museum's astounding collection, often entering the site through a specific work of art. The visual design of the entire site is based on the way we organized the collection to address the needs of both of these audiences simultaneously."
The simplicity of the navigation was also a key in improving the overall experience for site users. "We kept everything on the site as close to the homepage as possible, which let us eliminate the kind of multiple clicks and top-down hierarchical navigation you find on a lot of websites," says Strausfeld. "Our goal was to engage people immediately in their visit to the museum's new site."
An expanded calendar provides day-by-day views of all activities at the museum, with direct links to more information about the events or to the online box office. Social media is heavily integrated into each page of the new site as well, with an option to share the content to various online services or add events to a personal calendar. Links are also supplied to the museum's own Facebook, Twitter and blog accounts.
"The site relies on a number of advanced technologies and design innovations," says Eric Duell, associate partner at LUCRUM. "The real marvel is that these are mostly invisible to the visitor. Through seamless integration, they blend into the background to allow visitors to interact directly and easily with the museum via its collections, news content and other site features."
Pentagram is a distinguished international design consultancy with offices in New York, London, Austin and Berlin. Founded in 1972, the firm has a unique multi-disciplinary approach: Its 16 partners are generalists, and their practice is wide-ranging, encompassing the design of identities, websites, environments, packaging, publications and products. The firm has completed projects for museums and cultural institutions all over the world. Recent collaborations include work for the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, SFMOMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Detroit Institute of Arts. The firm's website can be found at www.pentagram.com.
LUCRUM is a premier management and technology services consulting firm with capabilities that span the breadth of business systems and solutions, including business intelligence analytics, data management, data warehousing, project management and data architecture and strategy. More information is available at www.lucruminc.com.
About the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 40,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. Currently undergoing a multi-phase renovation and expansion project, it is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship, performing arts and art education. Admission to the museum has been free since its founding charter.
The Cleveland Museum of Art has a membership of nearly 25,000 households and is supported by a broad range of individuals, foundations and businesses in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. The museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. Additional support comes from the Ohio Arts Council, which helps fund the museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. For more information about the museum, its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit www.ClevelandArt.org.
Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team: