Tags for: The New CMA Website
  • Magazine Article
  • Digital Innovation

The New CMA Website

Transforming the online experience for all
Jane Alexander, Chief Digital Information Officer
August 29, 2023

Never miss a happening at the museum with the website’s “What’s On” event and exhibition listings.

Get ready for something new! The Cleveland Museum of Art is about to unveil its updated website, carefully crafted to provide an exceptional digital experience akin to our physical spaces. The CMA’s in-house development team has collaborated with multiple partners, including the open-source front-end website development firm Mediacurrent and Jeff Schuler of Web Substrate, to create a unified platform that seamlessly integrates information, events, art, membership, ticketing, the store, games, and more ways to connect with the CMA. 

The website team has pored over each pixel to transform the platform with a thoughtfully designed interface, easy navigation, and powerful search capabilities to enhance the user experience, allowing you to find what you need and surface exciting discoveries you may have not even known you were looking for. A component-driven design allows flexibility to grow with the museum. Behind the scenes, enhancements and upgrades to back-end systems that power the site will vastly improve performance, ensuring longevity and putting building blocks in place for future features, as well as exciting experiments with emerging technologies. Here a few new features we’re excited to highlight.

Collection Online now includes conservation content, such as this before-treatment image of Portrait of a Woman as Saint Catherine (1916.825) taken with ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence photography (UVIF) showing a pale green fluorescence emitted by older varnish layers.

Inclusive Design and Ease
A key pillar of the CMA’s new site is making the experience of the museum online intuitive and accessible for all. This extends beyond the design to ensure that every page and feature is fully perceivable and operable for multiple modalities while maintaining robust functionality. We’ve partnered with accessibility experts Prime Access Consulting with the aim to surpass current standards and lead in best practice. Moreover, regardless of a user’s ability or mode of exploring the site, our design focuses on effortless navigation, simplifying your experience and making it easy to find what you’re looking for.

The site’s main navigation features three primary pathways: “Visit,” “What’s On,” and “Art.” Visit is your gateway to all three of our locations: the museum, the Community Arts Center, and Transformer Station. Discover comprehensive information on hours, directions, parking, special fees, accessibility options, and even the café menu to plan your visit seamlessly.

What’s On allows you to stay aware of every exciting happening, ensuring that you never miss an event. Browse areas of interest, locations, and dates, and stay informed about details like ticket releases and open registrations. Prominent event notifications keep you informed about highlights, including member-exclusive events, facilitating connections between like-minded art enthusiasts.

Under Art, you’ll find our vast collection brought to life. Here, you can explore every object in our collection accompanied by high-resolution 3-D images, scholarly information, videos, captivating blog articles, and innovative online AI tool sets and games utilizing the open access collection.

Updated Member Dashboard and Ticket Transactions
Our new member portal streamlines transactions, allowing you to purchase a membership and snag exhibition tickets in one go. By logging in, you can always have access to all of your past transactions as well as your upcoming tickets. It also suggests related events, including talks and membership parties. Joining the CMA has never been easier than with these options. We’re also introducing monthly payment plans for select membership levels, providing flexibility in payment. Renewing your membership is a breeze with new autorenew options for both first-time and existing memberships.

Already renowned for its exceptional functionality and artwork records, Collection Online has been significantly upgraded to offer even more information from our collection databases. The entry point for scholars and art enthusiasts alike, Collection Online creates access to the CMA’s entire collection. You can still enjoy its current offerings: advanced search options, detailed artwork pages, high-resolution imagery, 3-D models and animations, and downloadable metadata and images for open access artworks. The redesigned website additionally introduces a comprehensive collection API integration that automatically updates information from the collection and image databases, exhibition records, and conservation images and content. Our AI search capabilities provide exciting new ways to discover art, suggesting similar objects united by composition, content, or color. 

We are really excited about adding more transparency and insights into the history and materiality of selected artworks through conservation content and images. Finally, we’ve integrated the collection with select items in our store, allowing you to extend your appreciation beyond the museum spaces. If you fall in love with a painting by Monet, you can easily add a scarf featuring its print to your cart. Similarly, if you’re captivated by an artwork in an exhibition, you can purchase its associated publication for a scholarly deep dive that doubles as a beautiful coffee table book.

Prepare to experience ArtLens innovation online! Our website will host a suite of creative experiments that provide novel ways to engage with our collection. The award-winning ArtLens AI, where you can upload an image of your own to find one from our collection that matches in some way, continues to be available. Moreover, new AI experiments are featured, such as the online interactive that extends an artwork beyond its frame with any new imagery of which a user can dream, simply by entering a text prompt. This AI experiment is similar to the DALL-E Outpainting feature from OpenAI, the company known for ChatGPT. The CMA’s version, created in collaboration with Design I/O, known for ArtLens Studio, will use an open-source tool and leverage works in the open-access collection for a treatment unique to the CMA. 

AI imagines the scene beyond this Vincent van Gogh painting to include a ski slope, based on a user prompt. 

Future Features
Following the launch this fall, our website will continue to evolve, offering dynamic and interactive resources for further exploration:

  • A multifunctional book viewer for browsingmanuscripts or sketchbooks with smart behavior to account for the various binding styles and reading directions of volumes in the CMA’s collection
  • Articles with embedded interactive content and motion, allowing for deeper exploration of topics like artwork details, conservation, and object history through videos, animations, 3-D models, and more
  • Upgrades to ArtLens online featuring innovative ways to explore and interact with art 
  • Further integrations and updates to the online museum store

With a strong focus on accessibility, innovation, and engagement, we’re determined to provide you with an unparalleled opportunity to explore, connect, and appreciate art and all the museum has to offer. We can’t contain our excitement to unveil our new online home and invite you to be a part of this remarkable journey. Stay tuned for the grand reveal!