Krannert Art Museum Launches Expanded Website, Provides Online Access to Artwork Collection

Julia Nucci Kelly
News

Champaign, Ill., August 2, 2017—Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois (KAM) has recently launched an expanded, redesigned website, kam.illinois.edu, that opens online access to the museum’s panoramic collection of art to students, researchers, and online visitors. 

The redesigned website will enable visitors to learn more about the museum’s collection galleries and institutional history, give teachers resources to bring art into their classrooms and learn more about the public engagement program Krannert Art Museum—Week at the Museum, and give students and art researchers access to original curatorial research related to exhibitions at KAM.

Online visitors will also be able to do something new: search the art collection through the museum website.

“As the second-largest general fine arts museum in the state of Illinois and a major cultural institution on campus, we strongly believe it is important to make the art collection as accessible as possible. Building the means to access the collection online is an important part of that,” said Kathleen Harleman, Museum Director and Interim Dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts. “Online visitors will have access to the breadth of work we do in teaching, conservation, and research as a top academic art museum at the University of Illinois.”

Kimberly Sissons, Collection Manager at the museum, was instrumental in the behind-the-scenes work required to put the collection online. “Each record needs to be checked over to make certain its data displays correctly and is searchable to users. At launch we have around 2,700 works of art accessible via the web, which is more than 25 percent of the collection. It’s a good start, and we will continue to build on it.”

An added feature for museum donors is an expanded Support section, which highlights the experiences of museum volunteers and students who get involved at KAM, as well as the support the museum receives from external funders and university partners, including the College of Fine and Applied Arts at Illinois. “We will continue to develop tools, in order to make it easier to give online,” said Director of Development Brenda Nardi. “We also plan to begin telling the stories of a variety of our devoted patrons and of those who give their time and talent to KAM in hope of inspiring giving at every level. We want our students, alumni, and friends to get a real sense of the impact they can and do make.”

The new website, which has been in preparation for two years, builds on information available in the previous format, which at the time of its creation (1993), was the first art museum website in the United States. Accessibility and responsiveness are important aspects of the new design.

Julia Nucci Kelly, Communications and Marketing Coordinator for the museum, managed the project from start to finish. “We started with research into the current site, to see what worked and what needed improvement. The new site will enable museum visitors, whether they are students or alumni or community members, to see the range of our work as an academic art museum. We hope it will inspire learning, exploration, research, and visits to see the artwork in person.”

 

New features of kam.illinois.edu include:

  • Overviews of all collection galleries, including the Bow and Trees Galleries, the Decorative Arts collection, Art of the Ancient Mediterranean and Art of Ancient Peru, and the award-winning Encounters: The Arts of Africa;
  • Access to exhibition portfolios and more than 2,700 works of art in the permanent collection, the number of which will continue to grow;
  • A growing collection of artist profiles, conservation articles, provenance information, and original curatorial research, available online for the first time, including images of artwork and a growing library of KAM-produced videos;
  • A search interface powerful enough to enable online visitors to search website content and the artwork database in a single place (as an added feature, Advanced Search of the collection, to facilitate more targeted research);
  • A clean, responsive design that works well in all browsers and devices, making it easy to explore the site and share content via social media.

Kelly commented that the project benefitted from the expertise and collaboration of the museum staff and willing participation by KAM’s members and friends, including those who provided comments during the research and testing phases. “It has been a long process, but well worth it,” she added. The museum will continue to publish content to all portions of the new site over the coming months. “We invite everyone to visit and explore. Each time you visit, you can learn something new.”

 

Design and Development

James Goggin and Shan James of Practise (www.practise.co.uk) designed the new site. The firm also designs the print materials and exhibition catalogues for KAM. Recent design collaborations include catalogues for MetaModern (2015), Zina Saro-Wiwa: Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance? (2016), and for the upcoming exhibition World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean, opening August 31, 2017. Site development was completed locally by the team at Surface 51 (www.surface51.com), and the museum’s ongoing partner on the collection database project is Gallery Systems (www.gallerysystems.com).

About Krannert Art Museum

Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion (kam.illinois.edu) promotes a vibrant exchange of ideas in the visual arts. The museum’s rich permanent collection contains over 10,000 works of art dating from the fourth millennium BCE to the present, making Krannert Art Museum the second-largest general fine art museum in Illinois. A unit of the College of Fine and Applied Arts (faa.illinois.edu) at the University of Illinois (illinois.edu), the museum is located at the corner of Sixth St. and Peabody Dr. in Champaign, Ill. Complete information on events, exhibitions, location and hours of operation is available via the museum website.

 

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