A visit to the museum doesn’t have to be done in person. Learn how the Henry Ford gave the museum-going experience a digital twist to reach even more guests.
While museums may be showcases of age-old artifacts and exhibits, that doesn’t mean they have to be old-fashioned in the way they approach operations. In fact, museums have often led the deployment of cutting-edge technologies, from mobile listening devices to interactive displays. Throughout the 21st century, museums have moved toward creating active, relevant and personalized experiences for visitors.
That willingness to embrace new technology shouldn’t end with at-location experiences. With more museum-goers utilizing digital channels to locate nearby museums, look up information about exhibits, share their experiences and do other activities, it’s become just as pivotal to offer a superior digital experience.
The Henry Ford is an internationally recognized cultural destination, showcasing a collection of 26 million artifacts that helped shape America over the course of the country’s formation. More than 1.7 million guests visit the Henry Ford annually.
However, the number of people visiting the Henry Ford in person has been dwarfed by a growing number digital guests in recent years. More than 3 million people experience the Henry Ford digitally through websites, mobile apps, kiosks and other channels—and that number keeps getting larger. The institution’s digital and emerging media team, led by Matt Majeski, realized there was a significant opportunity here. With so many artifacts, only about 5% could be displayed at any given moment. But with a strong digital presence, the Henry Ford could show off the other 95% to visitors every day.
Creating a new digital experience was a monumental task, given all the data that needed to be pooled to create a complete website. The Henry Ford had upward of 1.5 terabytes of images and videos that needed to be cataloged, consolidated and displayed. Additionally, this data had to be easily accessible to users regardless of their preferred viewing devices.
Progress Sitefinity addressed all of the museum’s requirements, while also fitting into the budget. With Sitefinity, Majeski’s team could create relationships between stories and the raw data that existed in various databases to tie everything together.
“The Sitefinity platform’s SEO-friendly nature enables us to publish content and get it pushed out to a larger audience than we’ve ever been able to reach,” said Majeski, adding that since launching the site, he’s seen astronomical growth in the number of visitors viewing the collections. “Using Sitefinity, we were also able to introduce ecommerce, enabling people to buy high-resolution images of our artifacts, which helped to create a new revenue stream.”
For many customer-facing businesses, their top priority is (and always has been) offering the best experience to their customers. What is changing is the way that companies approach these goals. New technology can help enterprises continually refine and innovate the customer experience.
Want to read more about how the Henry Ford used Sitefinity to bring its artifacts into the digital era? Check out the full success story. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out or leave a comment below.
Barrett Coakley is the Senior Manager, Products Marketing for the Progress Sitefinity Content Management System (CMS) and the Sitefinity DEC, a digital marketing analytics platform. Mr. Coakley has worked in various marketing positions for both startup and large technology organizations for over 20 years.
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