Monday Morning Coffee with The St. Joseph Museum: New Website, New Look

museum snipFrom the journal entries of Civil War soldiers, to the life stories of famous jazz musicians – and from the cultural exhibits of Native Americans to the intriguing tales of early mental health institutions – there’s no doubt the St. Joseph Museum has a way of drawing guests in its doors.

The St. Joseph Museum may draw more guests now than ever, having recently launched a new and enhanced website.  Even with all the ways a business can tell its story today, a website is still a company’s best calling card. For businesses like the Museum that attract customers from across the region, the nation and the globe, it’s even more critical that the website be inviting, easy to navigate and accessible to mobile devices.

“We wanted a new look that had bright colors and simple design, and it had to be mobile-device friendly,” says Kathy Reno of the St. Joseph Museum. “Many museums are going with a refreshed look as they seek to draw in guests from all age ranges and interests.”

The new site features big, bold photographs, bright colors that step away from traditional burgundy and brown tones and a simple menu that’s repeated on most of the pages. Because many guests and groups want to see photos of what they can expect, many of the pages have links to a new image gallery that’s easy to update as exhibits and events change.

Our team at Susan J. Campbell Copywriting Solutions worked with St. Joe Web to create the new site, funded by a St. Joseph Museum Grant from the St. Joseph Convention and Visitors Bureau. When exploring the new look, a list of sites from across the globe was prepared, with the National Museum of Scotland as the chief design inspiration. This museum is similar to the St. Joseph Museum in that several museums are housed in one location.

“The challenge is in communicating what guests can see and learn across not one museum, but the four properties that are part of The St. Joseph Museums,” says Reno.  “Our site is unique because under one roof guests can see the collections of three of these unique museums – the St. Joseph Museum, the Black Archives Museum and the Glore Psychiatric Museum. The fourth, the Wyeth Tootle Mansion, is located off-site but is a key area for tours and rentals. We needed to bring everything together under one brand but showcase their unique offerings.”

This goal was achieved with consistent use of color and easy-to-find information about what guests can expect. Within the physical structure of the St. Joseph Museum itself, recently changed colors on accent walls and exhibit backgrounds also match a brighter, bolder and more contemporary look. The site is built on WordPress so it can be easily updated and changed, and for the first time, is mobile-friendly for guests browsing the site from their phones as they decide what to see and do in the region.

Additions are planned for the coming weeks, including more research information, and more photos and videos to the galleries. Across several pages, the accreditations and national awards received by the Museum are showcased to remind locals and visitors what a true treasure the St. Joseph Museum is to the area.

Take a moment this week to explore the St. Joseph Museum both online and in-person. You’ll likely be surprised by learning something new about this intriguing region, and maybe even pick up some ideas for making your own website an even more exciting calling card for your organization.

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