VMFA Launches Mobile-Friendly Website with Collections Search

Technology innovations will enhance the visitor experience

VMFA unveiled a redesigned, responsive website – providing mobile-friendly access on tablets and smart phones – that is providing broader exploration of the museum’s permanent collection.

“Part of our ongoing strategic plan is facilitating deeper and richer engagement with our audiences,” Deputy Director for Art and Education Robin Nicholson said. “Our site is often the first point of reference for visitors, and it’s been a longtime goal to have the full breadth of our permanent collection accessible online anywhere in the world.

Permanent collection content will be introduced to the website in phases, beginning with the 1,450 works of art currently featured. By the end of the summer, the 3,300 objects currently on view will be accessible. This is the first stage of an institutional effort to digitize and share the permanent collection on both web and mobile technologies.

In partnership with Richmond-based RTS Labs and local design start-up Never-Not, the museum has enhanced many aspects of its web presence. Features of the new vmfa.museum include improved navigation and access to most-requested information, streamlined ticketing and member transactions, and easier access to communication and social media channels. The homepage features the exhibitions and works of art currently on view, as well as social references to include posts from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

In addition to the new website launch, VMFA has been working on a six-month project to improve its data infrastructure. Piction is a repository for all digital assets, including photographs, video, and audio files. TMS (The Museum System) is a digital resource for collections information, which will ultimately house content for all 33,000 works in the museum’s collection. VMFA tasked these two companies to develop integrations between their systems and VMFA’s website for a 21st century management tool for deploying digital content.

Additionally, VMFA has consolidated multiple visitor and member databases into one Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to streamline communications and enhance the online visitor experience.

“We are delighted to be developing standards that may inform other museums as they seek similar solutions to complex data management challenges,” Nicholson said.

The website initiative was led by VMFA’s Technology Task Force, including trustees Bill Royall, Satya Rangarajan and Michael Schewel.

About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
VMFA’s permanent collection encompasses more than 33,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of world history. Its collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, English silver, Fabergé, and the art of South Asia are among the finest in the nation. With acclaimed holdings in American, British Sporting, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary art – and additional strengths in African, Ancient, East Asian, and European – VMFA ranks as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus lively after-hours events. VMFA’s statewide program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA, a certified Virginia Green attraction, is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum.

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