The pandemic of 2020 presented an unprecedented challenge for cultural institutions. We’ve been with with our clients every step of the way, creating projects that run the gamut of adaptations undertaken by the industry. We built “At Home” sections for the Andy Warhol Museum and the Akron Art Museum; we designed and developed virtual events for the Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles, and Pleasure Dome, Toronto; and we created a bring-your-own-device web app for the Hammer Museum. Read more
Since COVID-19 first hit, I have been conducting a cross-institutional research study about the effects of shelter-in-place on museum website visitation. Researcher Grace Poole and I have been working hard over the past several months to analyze the pandemic’s impact across the sector’s digital activity. Read more
We are living through history. Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping society. When Americans began practicing “social distancing” and following orders to shelter-in-place, museums and cultural organizations moved quickly to cease public visitation. But even as our institutions closed their physical doors, we have opened digital windows. Read more
NAMPUS at St. Mary's needed a facility to tell stories with their historic objects and photographs. We transformed an unused lobby into a flexible display space, complete with the inaugural exhibition. The result is the one of the most beautiful and atmospheric spaces on campus.
This piece is cross-posted on the MCN Blog.
MCN is all about facilitating connections for museum professionals. For the 2018 conference in Denver, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to help introduce a new format, MCN Field Trips, that opened up opportunities for spatial and dialectic exploration. Read more
We worked The Andy Warhol Museum, conducting a comprehensive overhaul of warhol.org. Launched in May 2017, The redesign included migrating the backend to WordPress, redesigning the frontend, establishing a content strategy, implementing a new information architecture, and auditing and rewriting all text and images.
I'm involved in three presentations at this year's MCN conference: "Proud to be Flesh: Cultural Spaces After the Internet," which will be a conversation between museum technologists and local artists; "Understanding our audiences," about the Whitney’s Website Visitor Survey and its broader context; and "Emotion, Intimacy and Space," about designing and developing the Clyfford Still Museum’s In-Gallery Video Kiosk System.
As part of our ongoing work with The Santa Cruz MAH, we recently refreshed the microsite used for membership renewals. The site is build on WordPress and Gravity Forms, with various plugins providing functionality including those from For Gravity, gravity+ and Gravity Wiz. Read more
Museum Computer Network is
a membership-based professional association that provides a space for museum professionals to connect, share resources and best practices, develop their careers, and advance digital transformation in museums. Hosted every year since 1968, MCN’s Annual Conference draws over 600 cultural heritage professionals from museums, historic sites and visitor attractions in North America and beyond. Read more
I had the honor of presenting an introduction to the National Museum Website Visitor Motivation Survey project at the 2016 Museums and the Web conference in Los Angeles. I shared this honor with my project co-leader, Sarah Wambold, Director of Digital Media at the Clyfford Still Museum. Read more
I’m proud to announce that I’ll be presenting at Museums and the Web this year. I’m involved in two sessions:
The first is Visitor-First, Mobile-First: Designing a Visitor-Centric Mobile Experience, part of part of the User-Centered Design session, chaired by Michael Parry of the Powerhouse Museum. Read more
I’m leading, with collaborator Sarah Wambold, a nationwide study into the motivation of visitors to museum websites. As of this writing we have 22 participating institutions, including representatives in Canada and Australia.
The VMS on the website of the Menil Collection
Google Analytics is a powerful tool in understanding traffic to a website, but site statistics alone do not always tell the full story. Read more
Top of the MAH homepage, desktop view
We’re excited to have launched a new homepage for the Santa Cruz Museum of Art And History! It’s the fruit of a year of development, analytics and design.
Led by Executive Director Nina Simon, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History is a participatory museum. Read more
The main view of the interactive presents a map of the world.
I recently had the opportunity to again collaborate with the Chinese American Museum on an interactive touchscreen in-gallery kiosk. The piece is part of the exhibition Tales of the Distant Past: The Story of Hong Kong and the Chinese Diaspora and illustrates the Chinese diaspora around the world. Read more
I’ll presenting a session at MCN2015 in Minneapolis this November, in collaboration with Sarah Wambold. Titled WordPress as Museum Web CMS: Development and Content Strategy, the core audience for this discussion will be web teams considering implementing a CMS (or switching from another), are evaluating WordPress and want to know what to expect. Read more
Campers outside the MAH in Santa Cruz, CA. August 2015
MuesumCamp this year was amazing! Kudos to Nina Simon, Beck Trench and the team of organizers for crafting such a well-thought-out experience enabling 100+ of us to work through ideas of space and community. Read more
I recently redesigned the top-navigation of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History's website. Working closely with Museum staff, I simplified the nav and introduced a modern, mobile-responsive interface pattern.
I’ll be presenting at Museums and the Web in April. Sarah Wambold and I have put together a talk on Agile project management methodologies for museum website redevelopment projects we’re calling “Building the car while driving it.” We’ll be presenting on the first day of the conference, Thursday, April 09. Read more
The October 2014 issue of Art In America was filled with pleasant surprises (Harsh Patel, Fluxus, Richard Tuttle), but the core was a series of articles on museums’ relationship to graphic design and the web. I was impressed by how these pieces were able to capture some of the issues and discussions currently being engaged with on the ground. Read more
Featuring a bold, responsive design, the new website for the Clyfford Still Museum launched in October, 2014. This new site helps the museum position itself as a destination, a site of pilgrimage for art lovers interested in the life and work of master abstract expressionist painter Clyfford Still. Read more
This post is based on a report produced for Spellerberg Associates by Amanda Moon and Marian Oman. Their research was conducted at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin as part of a usability course taught by Randolph Bias. Read more
Museum Camp is an annual conference produced by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. The format is similar to a hack-a-thon: Participants have 72 hours to work on a project consistent with a theme. This year’s theme was “Social Impact Assessment” and involved conducting research projects based on different locations around Santa Cruz. Read more
Working with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, we recently completed a redesign of the Exhibitions area of the Museum’s website. The project was a collaboration between Spellerberg Associates and staff at the MCA.
On the front-end, we implemented a mobile-responsive design reflecting a contemporary interpretation of the Museum’s established visual identity. Read more
Google Analytics is a powerful tool for understanding traffic to a website. The standard site statistics, however, don’t always tell the full story. For instance, interpreting the duration of an average site visit is highly speculative. It is typically thought that the longer a visitor spends on the site the better, and that shorter interactions are less successful. But this is not necessarily the case...
A Pop Up Museum is a of temporary exhibit created by the people who show up to participate. It works by choosing a theme and venue and then inviting people to bring an object on-topic to share. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History hosts Pop Up Museums throughout Santa Cruz County in partnership with community organizations, businesses, and schools. Read more
Goshka Macuga is the MCA Chicago's 2013 Artist In Residence. But because the resulting work, likely to be a play, will not exist until the end of the term, the artist's process is being documented and presented to the public as Preparatory Notes for a Chicago Comedy. Our team became involved as interactive media designers/developers...
The Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles wanted a Content Management System, so that non-technical staff could make changes on their own. And, based on the experience using it for the Origins site, they wanted WordPress. So that’s exactly what we did! Read more
I’ve been working with the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History to develop a series of low-tech, low-cost strategies and systems to track, celebrate, and act on personal interactions with visitors.
“Like many small museums, the MAH cannot afford expensive ticketing or membership software systems,” says Executive Director Nina Simon. Read more
I’m happy to report the launch of Exploring the California Missions, a website I designed and developed for The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
Using the lens of California Mission history, Exploring the California Missions presents a suite of lessons intended to help teachers and fourth grade students develop the critical skills needed to work with primary sources. Read more
Following my notes on Museums By Artists, I was interested to hear more from Daniel Buren on Harald Szeemann and Documenta 5. Luckily, filmmaker Jef Cornelis recently issued an archive of footage from that exhibition, including interviews with the two men. Read more
Like many of my museum colleagues, I’m a big fan of Nina Simon’s blog, Museum 2.0. When the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, of which she is the director, needed a new website, I jumped at the opportunity. Simon praised my work, saying,
“Marty is everything I could have wanted from a designer — he overdelivered on my vague directives and pushed me to think more rigorously about what we were trying to do.” Read more
This is the second part of my notes on Museums By Artists, edited by A. A. Bronson & Peggy Gale and published by Art Metropole in 1983. Phrases have been lifted from the text, then grouped with like. See also: Museums, Collections and Art. Read more
This is the first part of my notes on Museums By Artists, edited by A. A. Bronson & Peggy Gale and published by Art Metropole in 1983. Phrases have been lifted from the text, then grouped with like. See also: Collecting as an Artistic Mode. Read more
I was involved with Social Media at the Art Gallery of Ontario through my position as New Media Developer. Our team’s actions resulted in the creation of a new full-time position to coordinate content for web and social media channels.
Image: Data collected as part of the Social Media benchmarking of the AGO’s public programs. Read more
The AGO had a lot riding on King Tut in 2010. The museum reopened to great fanfare the year before, but the recession hit hard and revenue targets were proving hard to hit. A 1979 Tut exhibition had sparked “Tutmania” throughout Canada and brought more than 750,000 visitors to the AGO; the museum hoped the sequel would prove a comparable blockbuster. Read more
Weddings and other private events are a major source of revenue for museums; I’ve heard it said they “keep the lights on.” But where on a museum’s website will you find information on this service?
We grappled with this question in 2008 at the Art Gallery of Ontario as part of an information architecture review. Read more
How many navigation items do museum websites have? How are they split? What are the most common terms? I looked at 35 museum websites and this is what I learned:
60% of sites split their persistent navigation into two groups (usually with different font sizes or visual treatment). Read more
The vote page of the 2010 Grange Prize
The Grange Prize is an annual contemporary photography prize. The winner is chosen through a people’s-choice vote conducted in-gallery and online. When the AGO took over the site this year, our goal was to create an easy to use and reasonably secure voting mechanism. Read more
Every few months the web teams of the Royal Ontario Museum, the Ontario Science Centre and the Art Gallery of Ontario get together for a nerd-fest. The events are a welcome diversion from the daily grind of production, and a vital expression of community and common purpose. Read more
Well, here it is. In the first of four planned releases we’ve introduced a look and feel constructed around the AGO’s new graphic identity. It’s the result of a team effort, and seasons of research.
From a development perspective it’s simply a re-skinning of the legacy ColdFusion site; the CMS we’ve been implementing with Devlin will debut in the coming months. Read more
Announcing the launch of Bell Lightbox! The website is a refresh of the former Bell Festival Centre site, incorporating the Envisioning + Storytelling creative, new renderings by KPMB and the TIFFG framing. The website was created in-house at the Toronto International Film Festival Group by developers Marty Spellerberg and Richard Norman, and programmer Gabriel Perez. Read more
Announcing the redesign of the Toronto International Film Festival Group ! It was designed and built in-house by developer Marty Spellerberg.
Check out the Toronto International Film Festival Group! Read more
The 2007 Toronto International Film Festival is now live! The website was created in-house at the Toronto International Film Festival Group by Developers Richard Norman and Marty Spellerberg; Programmers Gabriel Perez and Ric Pettit; Coordinator Neil Haapamaki and Project Manager Alice Ko. Our favorite features are the Flickr-powered galleries and the Google-powered maps. Read more
This is a page from the Information Architecture for the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. It reflects a significant restructuring from previous years, cutting the number of main nav items in half. This page shows one of seven key dates leading up the the festival, with both “Public” and “Industry” views of the site. Read more
Proudly announcing the redesign of Bell Festival Centre! Coinciding with the groundbreaking at King and John Streets in Toronto, the website was created in-house at the Toronto International Film Festival Group by developer Marty Spellerberg and programmer Gabriel Perez.
Check out Bell Festival Centre! Read more