Transforming a Cultural Institution

It began over 80 years ago as a personal collection of American history. Today it’s the largest indoor-outdoor collection of American innovation.

What if an 80-year-old historical cultural institution could embrace digital to become a content publisher and center for innovation?

OUR CHALLENGES

> Embrace the connected consumer to deliver a world-class user experience no matter the location and device.
> Blend the physical and digital spaces to create an experience that works for both those who can reach an artifact and those who are looking at it from afar.
> Get The Henry Ford to leverage its deep wealth of knowledge, information, and physical artifacts to allow the brand to program its content like a publisher; driving engagement, excitement, and cultural relevance 365 days a year.
> Monetize the collection of assets THF possesses, to build a new revenue stream, effectively funding future innovation.

Content Strategy

DATA-DRIVEN STORIES

The collection is the heart and soul of The Henry Ford. It represents every artifact, innovation, and story that has been meticulously curated and cataloged.

The collection database holds more than 56,000 digitized artifacts. With every artifact holding several points of meta data (connections, date, innovator, region, etc.), we wanted the collection’s data to tell powerful and portable stories. This is why the collections data is represented in artifact cards — portable and adaptable containers to showcase each and ever artifact.

From there, we were able to mix and match the collection’s data and portable artifact cards into three types of more immersive stories.

National Recognition

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2016 Silver W³ Award

We received Silver in the Cultural Institutions Website category for creative excellence in our design and development of The Henry Ford website.

2016 MUSE Award Winner

The Henry Ford was honored with a Silver Award for Online Presence for our work on the revamp of the museum's digital experience.

2016 WebAward

We received the Web Marketing Association's Best Non-Profit Website award for excellence in design and development of The Henry Ford website.

Not only does it make it easier for visitors to dive deeper into our artifacts, but it takes the rich storytelling we provide our guests every day here onsite and puts it into a unique and shareable digital format. Patricia Mooradian - President, The Henry Ford

Digital Experience

A DIGITAL ARTIFACT

We created a portable and deeply immersive trojan horse for The Henry Ford based on each and every artifact. These cards are meant to be shared, embedded, and self-contained experiences. They bring the excitement of the first automobile or historical prominence of the civil rights movement to a blog or social network near you. Each artifact card contains a gallery, media components, a depth of information, and relevant artifacts.

The artifact card essentially became the portable museum for The Henry Ford.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Strategy & Planning
  • User Experience Strategy
  • UI Design & Copywriting
  • Front-end Technology
  • SEO & Analytics
  • Back-end Technology
  • Project Management
  • Account Management

Content Production

THINKING LIKE A PUBLISHER

Crafted distinctly branded content in the form of a video series showing the hidden connections between items in the digital collection, and an in-depth “What If” narrative series on inventors and their inventions.

Architecture

SEARCHABILITY

Designed and implemented robust search tools that simplify discovery of The Henry Ford’s more than 52,000 digital artifacts. In total, we launched with approximately 1.5 terabytes of archive-related images and documents. Approximately 16 million files in all. All searchable and many shareable.

eCommerce

MONETIZING AN ARTIFACT

Implemented purchase-path opportunities for visitors to purchase tickets, membership, make donations, and buy retail items (such as gifts from the museum shop or high-resolution images directly from The Henry Ford’s digital collection) with the click of a mouse or tap of a finger.

Related Work