Smith College Museum of Art Website Wins Award

For Immediate Release
SCMA Media contact and image requests: Margi Caplan  mcaplan@smith.edu
SRS Media contact and image requests: Cheri Cross  cheri@slateroofstudio.com

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SCMA Website Wins Award from Leading Museum Association

July 12, 2011, Northampton MA—Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) and Slate Roof Studio (SRS) are pleased to announce joint receipt of the 2011 Judges Choice Award for Best Website Redesign (For institutional budgets of $500,000+) in the New England Museum Association (NEMA)’s annual competition.

Visit the new SCMA website at www.smith.edu/artmuseum.

NEMA is the leading organization for museums of all sizes in New England and has more than 1,300 members.

In the award announcement, Dan Yaeger, Executive Director of NEMA stated:

“Your [website] design puts you in very good company at the top ranks of our region’s institutions. This year, we received a tremendously competitive number of applicants: 206 [entries] from 64 museums entered in 16 different categories. The judges were extremely impressed with the high quality of all the entries, and expressed pride to come from a region that produces such high caliber work.”

Considered one of the finest college art museums in the country, SCMA is known for its distinguished collection of more than 20,000 objects from all periods and cultures. The permanent collection includes modern painting and sculpture, works on paper, western European masterworks, antiquities, decorative arts, and emerging collections of African, Asian, and Islamic art. Ever-changing exhibitions reflect the growing diversity of the collection. In addition, SCMA hosts free public programs for all ages, including monthly Second Fridays and Family Days. Popular amenities include award-winning artist-designed rest rooms, a series of 11 unique, handcrafted gallery benches, the Museum Shop, and Riff’s Café.

The Museum’s marketing team--Margi Caplan, membership and marketing director, and Martha Ebner, marketing and web coordinator--oversaw this project and continue to manage SCMA’s website. Under the direction of the Museum’s marketing office, the entire Museum staff was involved in all aspects of the project, from conception to writing and design.

Based in Florence, MA, Slate Roof Studio (www.slateroofstudio.com) produces interactive multimedia communications for educational institutions and fine arts museums across the country. Their projects include work on behalf of the Art Institute of Chicago (which garnered a 2010 MUSE award from the American Association of Museums), Addison Gallery of American Art, Albany Institute of History and Art, and Middlebury College Museum of Art.

The Slate Roof team on the SCMA project includes Slate Roof co-founders Cheri Cross and Tim Toffoli, and ContentHere owner and principal Seth Gottlieb.

SCMA also won Second Place in the category of Invitations-Exhibition design for a print publication on “Susan Hiller: What Every Gardener Knows” (spring 2010). Carolyn Eckert served as the freelance designer and Margi Caplan oversaw the project for the Museum.

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SCMA launched the first phase of its redesigned Web site in December 2010, following 15 months of development work with SRS.

The new SCMA website represents a complete reconsideration of how the Museum communicates with its many audiences. The overarching goal of the new website is to reveal and convey the Museum’s  mission, holdings, exhibitions, programs, and activities in a consistent voice, dynamic style, and accessible format that is relevant and useful to all.

The new site’s visual and verbal content expanded more than 40% as a result of the complete redesign – all made more accessible with a new graphic design and newly organized structure.

The new website is built using an advanced content management system (CMS) that allows for ongoing updates and revisions by Museum staff. The system fully integrates Web 2.0 features, such as the new Cunningham Center blog, “paper + people,” and integration of “Online Community” sharing features such as Facebook and YouTube.

The first phase of the new website focuses on showcasing the Museum’s permanent collection, emphasizing collection highlights and art acquisitions. Using the new CMS, web content focusing on events, exhibitions, and collection highlights is constantly generated, ensuring a steady stream of fresh information.

The new site is both stylistically and technologically integrated with the website of Smith College, underscoring the Museum’s close relationship with the College.

Phase II of the new SCMA website focuses on transactional activity, including a newly expanded online Museum Shop, and streamlined secure transactions related to membership, donor support, and program registration. The second phase will launch in the fall of 2011.

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NEMA is a nonprofit organization that seeks to strengthen regional museums. To achieve this mission, NEMA fosters communication and ethical conduct; provides professional development; promotes excellence in museum operations; and encourages support for the museum community. www.nemanet.org

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