A new start. Better user experience. Clearer navigation. Better organization.
What are we talking about? The new Taber Museum Website, of course!
May of 2017 marks the introduction of an all new Website. After a number of years of piecemeal changes, updates and tweaking of antiquated technology, the site has been redesigned from top to bottom. An all new interface was used, so that the site looks cleaner and works better, with features which will allow a better user experience for members, visitors and anyone else who has an interest in the Museum and the history of Lycoming County.
Thanks goes to Pennsylvania College of Technology senior Brittany Terpstra. In these times of tight budgets, funding the cost of a newly designed Website was not in the Museum's short-term plans. Brittany, a student in Web & Interactive Media Professor Denise Leete's Capstone Class, designed the site at no cost to the Lycoming County Historical Society or its members. Her effort was extraordinary, given the complexity of the museum operation and the number of features required for the new site.
Brittany did a great job and we are quite pleased with the result.
What's better in this site? Well, everything, really! The new site is organized logically. The calendar and upcoming events are all in one place. The online store will feature most of the items that can be purchased at the Museum, and there is a "shopping cart" feature. There are much better descriptions of the exhibits and many photographs from the galleries. There is a "plan your visit" area that better introduces visitors to the Museum and tourist attractions in the region.
The difficulty with developing an entirely new site, is that all the pages must be filled with interesting and useful articles and information. Unfortunately, Brittany's experience with Web design is not helpful in creating the needed content. The staff and members of the Board of Governors are being called upon to fill the pages and this process is never going to be complete, since a good Website is always updating and improving its content. During the past several months, while the Website work was progressing, the Museum staff was overwhelmed with tasks related to the Museum's re-accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. We are a bit behind in implementing all the new features of the site, but will be moving full speed ahead to complete all parts of the site.
Now that the hard work of redesigning the site is completed, we intend to use this new technology to expose the many treasures of the Museum. The Museum is the repository for a number of significant collections of photographs, documents and objects, all of which are important to understand and interpret the history of Lycoming County. We hope to make these items discoverable and accessible on the Website. As the one organization dedicated to preservation of the history of the whole county, we are planning a "history portal" that provides access to materials, sources and Websites reporting on local history. Our Journal has long documented the interesting stories of people, places and events of interest to the public. We are hoping to publish past issues of the Journal for public access.
Yes, we are documenting history at the Taber Museum - but we are also looking to the future by attempting to provide a fantastic online experience to all. Hope we have succeeded!