An ISU graduate designed and launched the new McLean County Museum of History website, making it more accessible to users.
Gary Iverson, ISU alum, was an intern in May 2012 at the Museum of History working on web mapping projects. In August, he transitioned from his internship role into one of designing.
“Toward the end of my internship, after having frustratingly used the old website, I spent a weekend prototyping a model for what I believed the website could be,” Iverson said. “That became the first of dozens of design iterations.”
Iverson rebuilt the website in its entirety using the Foundation Framework. This is a responsive grid-based system that literally provides the foundation for the modular components seen across the site.
Perch content management system is used with the new site too. This allows the staff, volunteers and interns to easily update content.
They can add or remove pages without needing to know anything about HTML or edit the code directly.
“My hope is that this new website will facilitate better communication between the community and the museum,” Torii Moré, curator of digital humanities at the Museum and ISU alum, said.
“We wanted the website to showcase all the resources the museum has inside its walls, invite the community to attend all of the events we have, as well as ask the community to participate in sharing their history with us.”
Some of the new features added to the website include a “Participate” and “Get Involved” button. These sections of the website are efforts to engage the online and offline visitors in the things the museum is doing.
Also, it is aimed at developing future exhibits, hosting guest speakers and programs on various historical topics and bringing history closer to the people of the community.
The updates to the new website since its launch have increased online traffic for the McLean County Museum of History.
“Already, the education department has received field trip requests from the Champaign-Urbana area, which shows that the website is allowing the museum to reach further geographically than it has in the past,” Iverson said.
The website has created a blog section for employees. The blog allows for the staff to add a personal touch to the more formal voice of the museum by writing about their day-to-day experiences.
In doing so, they can connect with other people in the museum space and the community in general, Iverson added.