The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College launched a new website in October 2015, the first redesign in nine years.
The goals for the new site included larger images, responsive design, easy navigation and an emphasis on significant aspects of the museum’s mission as a contemporary art museum, as an educational institution, and as a growing collection.
Exhibitions are featured on the homepage, the exhibitions landing page, and on individual exhibition pages. A “light box” feature allows images to fill the screen, for a more immersive experience of artworks and installations. Exhibition pages can also include a curatorial statement, videos, artwork from the collection, events, the names of curators, artists, and student interns, and information about the exhibition catalog and the ability to purchase it from that page. A good example is the Jewel Thief exhibition page.
The educational mission is realized throughout the site. Exhibition pages show faculty and students who curate or co-curate shows, and student interns who work on exhibition. Special sections are geared toward specific audiences who use the museum (college students, faculty, schools and libraries, and adult and community groups). Videos on the home page and on endowed internship pages show how students gain real-world museum experiences. Images on the homepage from the Tang’s social media accounts (Instagram, in particular) often feature educational events and activities.
The website shows highlights from the collection on a dedicated page, which also gives detailed information about how students, faculty, and the public can make use of the collection. Exhibition pages can show any collection objects in the show. On the homepage, a unique feature presents two randomly selected collection objects side by side. A button allows visitors to “reload” the diptych, showing two new objects. This collection feature replicates a lesson used in object-based learning in which students are asked to talk about the relationship between two objects, and it recalls the Tang’s interdisciplinary nature, in which exhibitions often cross academic boundaries.
Other special features include:
Staff pages: When you hover over the title of full-time staff member, a pop-up describes the responsibilities for that position. This is one way the website educates the public about museum work.
Stickers: The website can display a “sticker,” a semi-transparent image “stuck” near the top of the homepage to highlight special events, such as artist talks, tours, and performances. This design element adds a unique layer to the visitor’s experience, and, because the sticker is a link, it also gives a unique point of entry to content deeper in the website.
Background pattern: The pattern corresponds to current wind speed and direction, and the number of webpages viewed on the site each day. The pattern is always changing and growing each day, a metaphor for the Tang as an intellectual crossroads.
Tang Teaching Museum Project Leaders
- Ian Berry, Dayton Director
- Michael Janairo, Assistant Director for Engagement
- Annelise Kelly, Online Content Assistant
Linked by Air
- Principals Dan Michaelson and Tamara Maletic
- Lead Designer Christopher Roeleveld
- Lead Developer Dylan Fisher