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Wanted: New Digital Home for the History of Texas
Welcoming more than 450,000 visitors a year, The Bullock Texas State History Museum is Texas's official history museum and features 500, ever-changing artifacts that span more than 13,000 years. It also includes the largest IMAX® Theatre in Texas, a 4D special-effects theater, a cafe and a Museum Store. When tasked with expanding the physical Museum experience online to increase the reach to all Texans, connect the past with the present, and build new digital collections of artifacts and stories through user generated content, Monkee-Boy was selected to help chart the way.
Building a new, fully responsive site with strict accessibility, government, and COPPA requirements was challenging enough. Throw in the diverse mix of audiences including teachers, students, members, and casual visitors of all ages across all of Texas, and you've got your hands full. The solution was created through Monkee-Boy's robust Diagnostic Strategy process, resulting in 116% increase in search engine visits, a 119% increase in new visitors, and a 169% increase in returning visitors.
To break the mold of other museum sites, and give the Bullock unlimited freedom over the sites design and functionality, Monkee-Boy utilized the fully custom MBoy CMS. This allowed the project to explore every idea, push the boundaries of what people expected from a museum site, and find success where other museums had fallen short. The increased horsepower and flexibility resulted in not only an amazing experience but two (2) top industry awards including the highly coveted AAM MUSE Gold Award for "Best Online Presence", a Tammy from the Texas Association of Museums, and being presented at SXSW interactive.
Expanding the physical walls of the Bullock online required two separate tasks — presenting great content in new ways and providing new ways for Texans to join the conversation and add to the digital collection. Through new and exciting techniques including the award winning Texas Story Project, online digital photo contests, and a fully COPPA compliant Instagram curation tool, the Museum has experienced an amazing 179% increase in visits from outside the Austin Metro, 1000's of user generated content submissions, and one of the most successful digital story collection projects ever imagined.
Use a floor mural to help users explore the rich history of Texas? No problem. The Monkee-Boy team built a custom illustration of the Bullock's terrazzo and turned it into the new front door of its highly acclaimed Campfire Stories section, allowing users to learn Texas history through the eyes the people who helped create its rich heritage.
The Bullock is unique in that it houses one of the widest varieties of events and programming in the central Texas inclusive of special exhibits, a wide variety of movies and documentaries, family activities, special educational programming, even live music in evenings during the summer, and more! Such a complex series of events required a complex, custom calendaring system that allows users on any device to see what's going on today, tomorrow and months into the future. Additionally, through a seamless integration with Blackbaud's Altru system, Bullock filming staff can easily manage movie showtimes, landing pages, and ticket sales. Check out the state-of-the-art calendaring system here and go check out one of their amazing events!View The Site
"Four months after launch, the site has achieved our initial goals of expanding the Bullock Museum's audience and making history and culture relevant. Monkee-Boy's enthusiasm for Texas and history and keen understanding of how people learn and navigate websites helped make the project a success."
"Far from being a static online repository that simply reflects the text and artifacts of the physical exhibits, your new site engages visitors by providing ways for them to contribute their own artifacts and their own stories to the complex and collective narrative that is Texas. As a result, you’ve created a resource that will continually renew itself and ensure that each visit has something new and special to offer."
"This site made me want to visit the museum and Texas – a feeling that as a confirmed East Coaster I can honestly say I’ve never had before! It made me like Texans and see what we shared, while letting me appreciate the things about them that are special – that’s not an easy thing to accomplish."
"How I wish we had something on this scale in Indiana. I really think you could franchise the website."
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