The Museum of Art has been Birmingham’s premier art museum since it first opened in 1951 and now houses one of the finest collections of art in the Southeast. Being a public museum that continues to offer free entrance to view any of its permanent collections, one of the Museum’s primary goals is to increase attendance, awareness, and engagement among the community of greater Birmingham and the state of Alabama as a whole. They do this by offering adult art classes, after-hours events featuring interactive programming, and educational docent-led tours for school and organizational groups targeting various ages and levels of experience. Over the years, the Museum has come to the realization that students from Title I and rural schools were a frequently underserved population. While expansive, they found that their in-house programming was not doing an adequate job to serve those populations. As the Museum’s primary web partner on multiple other web-based projects and initiatives, we were ready to help meet this need.
In collaboration with the Museum, we designed and developed a virtual public component that targets educators seeking age-appropriate resources to supplement their lesson plans. Because the Museum has an extensive Asian art collection, we developed the portal specifically to house Asian art-specific educational tools and resources. We worked extensively with the Museum on developing use cases and outlining desired user flow, perfecting the layouts of each template to optimize the portal for its target demographic and to allow for continued growth in the future. We incorporated the Museum’s existing minimalist branding into the portal, augmenting this aesthetic through the addition of micro-animations, rounded graphical elements, soft transitions, and vibrant colors, in order to emphasize the overall goal of accessibility and engagement among the audience. With the growing popularity of virtual learning, it became even more important that this portal be fully equipped to serve students wherever they were (as long as they have an internet connection), and we rose to the occasion, launching the Culture Bridge, as it is now named, to do just that. Going forward, we hope to expand the portal to help the Museum continually bridge the gap of accessibility and reach all Alabamians.