Beyond WallsNational Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA)
A new digital presence revolutionizes NMWA's ability to connect with visitors and patrons, including an improved member log-in experience which streamlines the donation process, social enablement to encourage sharing, and a robust online collection repository.
Winner of the Web Marketing Association's 2012 Best Arts Website
Winner of the International Davey Award's 2012 Silver Award for a Cultural Institution
The National Museum of Women in the Arts was facing significant hurdles when they approached NavigationArts in the Spring of 2011. Externally, the museum was dealing with the reality of a nationwide downturn in physical museum attendance, coupled with increased visitor selectivity.
Internally, NMWA needed to confront a lack of clear messaging that resulted from:
- Static web presence
- Confusing and diluted branding
- Lack of communication and marketing feedback with member constituency
- Under-representation of the collection online: only 10 percent of NMWA’s work was available online
- Over-lapping web roles and unnecessary operating costs fueled by an outdated content management system
NMWA needed a complete website overhaul to shift its public perception from a museum often misconstrued purely with women’s history to the reality: a diverse, provocative organization dedicated to promoting the accomplishments of women artists.
Stakeholder interviews with NMWA staff, board members, visitors, and artists revealed a common theme: they felt that the NMWA seen online and the true NMWA were two different organizations. Exciting opportunities and business objectives arose from the interviews and an evaluation of the NMWA site as a whole. These included:
- Communicating the importance of the NMWA mission as a diverse and provocative museum
- Galvanizing members to action through compelling, personalized stories and jarring statistics that reveal the reality of inequality around the globe
- Creating an online museum experience to serve the NMWA members, most of whom are outside of Washington, DC
- Highlighting educational, fundraising and community-based events through interactive calendars, cross-promotion of related events, and inclusion of promotional space in the visual design
- Modularizing content for portability and implementing a robust CMS to manage NMWA’s new and archived content
- Streamlining web operations and integrating the new CMS with external systems to reduce manual work and operational costs
Of all the issues that emerged during the interview and planning process, perhaps the most important was choosing the right platform to manage NMWA’s new image online. NavigationArts evaluated several Content Management Systems (CMS) for NMWA – both proprietary and open-source – and ultimately decided that Drupal 7 would best address all of NMWA’s mission-critical problems.
Drupal 7, the newest iteration of the increasingly popular free, open-source CMS, allows for deep content management and personalization. Drupal’s easy content sharing capabilities will drive NMWA’s integrated marketing campaigns that call for the cross-promotion of related material on the public-facing and member websites, emails, newsletters, and NMWA magazine.
Project Results Included:
- The revolutionized way NMWA now tells its story with compelling visual design and major exposure to NMWA’s activities, both locally and around the world
- Drupal 7 CMS customization for effective content management and web publishing
- New platform for member log-in and streamlined donations
- Socially enabled platform for sharing museum experiences post visitation
- Publication of NMWA’s vast library of images and clearer information about current, upcoming, and past exhibits
- Integration of interactive calendar and museum planning
- Improved web system operations that reduced redundancy
Established in 1987, NMWA is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to recognizing the contributions of women artists. Its collection currently contains more than 4,000 works in a variety of styles and media, from the 16th century to present day. The museum’s core mission is to bring recognition to the achievements of women artists of all periods and nationalities by exhibiting, preserving, acquiring, and researching art by women and by teaching the public about its accomplishments. NMWA is a unique, mission-focused museum whose cause and art are of equal importance. As the 25th anniversary of the museum approached, NMWA wanted to create a space that reflected not just the beauty of its collection, but the power of its mission.