University Museums Online

Making art, science, history and culture available and comprehensible.

Museum websites tend to have big bold images—a good thing!—and promote exhibits and events. And they sell tickets. Some collect emails to build a house list. These functions are all useful. But there is a great deal of unused potential. This is especially important right now with museums closed due to the coronavirus. One valuable idea is Digital Membership.

I’ve been thinking about this for years. Museums are buildings that people need to get to. But many can’t—it’s too far away. There are many customers you are not getting. But you could be.

What if your museum website was a 2-tiered system? Great content and experiences for the public. And additional exclusive material for premium DIGITAL MEMBERS? People who pay a monthly or annual fee to support the museum and get this special access with Digital Membership? This leaves some questions—what content/experiences can go on the site? Which content/experiences are free and which are exclusively for Digital Members?

The answer is: I’d like to ask museum professionals and front line workers. Here’s some potential features for an enhanced university museum website:

  • Mini-virtual exhibit
  • Expanded virtual exhibit
  • Online courses
  • Digital Community
  • Live online events
  • Recorded online events
  • Museum shop

The package of features for digital membership need to reflect the objectives of your museum and your capabilities, especially your in-house capabilities. What do you think?


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