Revitalizing a Beloved Cultural Institution

Columbia Museum of Art

The Columbia Museum of Art has long been an important part of the cultural landscape of Columbia, SC; but in the beginning of the 2010s they started making considerable steps to reposition themselves. They hoped to shed their stuffy image, partnering with the city’s independent newspaper and a beloved dive bar, they created Arts and Draughts, a quarterly after hours event where the museum would open their doors and allow the city to come experience the museum in a new light, with beers in hand and live music echoing through the galleries.

Arts and Draughts was given a dedicated page template in our 2015 redesign

The event series was a huge success, and in 2014 they partnered with Cyberwoven to rebuild their website, placing an emphasis on these sort of events, and hoping to reposition themselves in the community by placing member stories front and center, to help showcase what the museum has meant to people their city.

Keeping their goals in mind, we set to work developing the information architecture and content strategy for the upcoming website. Working in tandem with the developer on the project, we built out a roadmap of the various content types that we would need, mapping the fields out and figuring out the different views that would be needed before moving into design.

Preliminary wireframes that were created during the design process. These represent two different approaches we could take to highlighting featured exhibitions.

With the IA figured out, I set to work building out the design system for the website. With so much interconnected content, we knew we had to be smart about how we approached the design. Reusable components made up the bulk of the content, with a similar card-style design used for artworks, events, and CMA stories. By using a similar visual language, we were able to show users how to navigate the site, without having to tell them exactly where to go.

Preliminary style tile and header navigation design.