This text below has been adapted from the Director’s Note in the December 2018 edition of Tui Tui Tuituia! Tairāwhiti Museum’s quarterly newsletter
This month we launched a new museum website. It has taken many months of hard work and having never developed a website before – the process of creating content and designing the site has been a very interesting and enjoyable learning process. Some of you may remember our old site, which was over 10 years old (ancient in internet years!) and will I’m sure agree that a new website was long overdue.
Our aim was to make a simple and user-friendly site focused on what visitors need. That said, a museum site can get complicated fast – it’s not just about encouraging people to visit, but providing information about exhibitions, events, education programmes, museum collections and research resources, as well as integrating our commercial activities – Exhibit Café and the museum shop.
Our visitor information (hours, prices, location) is front and centre, but there are many ways to delve deeper in to the museum and now the site is live staff will continue to build this content with online exhibitions, information about new acquisitions and so on. One of the new features we have included is an online shop so people can easily purchase museum publications and Friends of the Museum memberships online.
Some of the main ways we communicate and share museum stories online are through our social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and our blog, so you will see the content on these channels integrated in to the new site. We know lots of you are using the free museum WiFi and we love seeing photographs and stories of your experiences at the museum too, please keep tagging us in #tairawhitimuseum.
Digital storytelling is increasingly being integrated in to the galleries too – visitors are enjoying the wonderful new Horouta waka resources (a film and e-book) developed by Ngai Tāmanuhiri, now on display in the Watersheds Ngā Waipupū exhibition and the digital resources in the museum’s new Suffrage exhibition Ambitious Gisborne Women.
Behind the scenes museum staff are working on the second phase of the project – preparing collections records on our database, so that we can eventually have this information accessible online too. My thanks to website designer Mike McVey (ifeelfree) for all his work and patience, and to Eastland and Central Community Trust for their support. Now that the website is live it’d be great to hear your comments and feedback.
Eloise Wallace, director