The Henry Ford Makes Massive Artifact Collection Available Online with Progress
As the largest indoor-outdoor museum in the United States, The Henry Ford is an
internationally recognized cultural destination. With an unparalleled collection of
artifacts spanning 300 years of American history, more than 1.8 million people visit the
institution in person annually and another 3.7 million visit The Henry Ford website to
browse the collection digitally.
The digital collection is an important part of The Henry Ford experience. At any given
time, only 5% of the collection can be exhibited on the museum floor. Digitization of the
collection is vital to ensuring guests can experience all 26 million museum artifacts at
any given moment.
However, managing the digital experience was a time-consuming endeavor. The entire
collection was about 1.7 terabytes worth of information, with content, images and videos
for many of the items. Beyond simply handling all of that data, the website itself had
to live up to modern expectations—including responsive design to serve the 60% of
visitors coming from tablets and mobile devices.
On a recommendation by Progress partner Perficient Digital, The Henry Ford decided
to use Progress® Sitefinity™ CMS to power the museum’s digital experience. Sitefinity
was chosen because of its flexibility and unified content management capabilities, in
addition to its ease of use.
“Sitefinity was the total package and delivered the capabilities and value we needed,”
explained Matt Majeski, Managing Director and Chief Digital Officer, The Henry Ford.
Sitefinity enabled the team to create relationships between stories that the digital
content team had developed and the raw data that existed in disparate systems.
Additionally, The Henry Ford digital team was able to consolidate search across all data
sources, making the user experience easier and more enjoyable.
“We’re seeing more and more organizations ask us to help them untangle and
consolidate multiple sites to create a unified experience,” Peter Ferraro, Solutions
Architect at Perficient Digital, added. “Sitefinity is an ideal solution to power this digital
Since launching the new Sitefinity-powered site, The Henry Ford has seen significant improvements both in terms of visitor engagement and workflow efficiencies, including:
• Overall website traffic has grown 12%
• Digital collections usage is up 155%
• Social media referrals have climbed 100%
• Website maintenance and content management can be performed 50% more efficiently
Additionally, the Sitefinity platform unlocked a new ecommerce revenue stream opportunity. The Henry Ford can now sell high-resolution images of artifacts via mobile, ecommerce and kiosk applications, which has driven a 24% growth in online revenue.
“With Sitefinity, what we’ve created is a truly scalable foundation that enables us to transform and meet the needs of our audience—with no technological limits,” Majeski said.