Our challenge was to create a new digital collection that provided people with the access and information they needed. We worked with the Museum to reimagine how the collection could become a central component of their digital change. Our solution was an engaging experience with serendipitous discovery at its heart.
Museums are measured by the way people access and experience their collections online. The National Museum of Australia plays a vital role connecting historical stories and artifacts with academic, social, physical and online communities. One of its core responsibilities is to make history freely accessible to guide better decisions for our future.
Integrated collection systems
We built Collection Explorer as an engagement layer that integrates with the Museum’s collection and asset management systems. This means the public face of the collection is free to evolve separately from the underlying enterprise systems. No change is needed to robust internal systems where the original data is stored. We integrated an enterprise grade search engine platform (Apache Solr) to enable powerful search across the entire collection.
Stories to engage and educate
The Museum’s vision was to increase digital access by making historical Australian objects and their stories engaging and serendipitous to explore. The Museum competes with other forms of entertainment in both the physical and online spaces. The digital experience needed to be immersive - just like visiting the museum in person.
We delivered a rich, dynamic interface for desktop, mobile and tablet - integrating with existing enterprise systems.
The collection in your pocket
The Museum’s vision is to make its collection of historical objects and digital assets accessible to the public. To enable this vision, we took a mobile-first approach from the outset to create a valuable and relevant experience. This delivered on audience expectation to access Collection Explorer anywhere, anytime, on any device.
Platform for future growth
The Museum's vision is for use of the digital collection to increase in the future, building on top of the platform to launch new products. This includes physical installations at locations such as the touch screen display at the Canberra Airport. The digital collection is designed to scale as the Museum’s digital collection grows.
Serendipitous discovery to enhance engagement
We created a ‘generous interface’ which purposefully breaks away from traditional search. You see items in the collection before you start searching and filtering, which creates opportunities for serendipitous discovery. Our approach was informed by research into online collection usage, and validated through protoyping and informal usability testing.
An immersive digital museum experience
The digital collection raises the profile of the National Museum of Australia as a major source of historical records. Through a delightful digital experience, people gain easy access to more items than are physically on display. This increases the relevance and impact of the Museum, ensuring its continued success into the future.
Love your work!
- Lisa Obrien
Manager - DAMS and Collection Search Project (NMA)