Its historic collections and artifacts have been homeless and survived the Civil War; it lost a president to a fatal accident and narrowly avoided bankruptcy. Today, more than 180 years after it was founded, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) is a beacon of American history. With its outstanding range of preserved manuscripts and museum collections, it offers unrivalled access to authentic historical insight spanning 16,000 years.
In order to better connect local, regional, and international audiences to these valuable resources, VHS recognized the need for a website that would engage online users, attract physical visitors, and allow scholars to access and utilize the fantastic range of stories, objects, and documents.
, the UK based digital media agency that worked in partnership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the redevelopment of their new website, which launched last year, was thrilled to be chosen as the partner for the societys digital redevelopment.
The project has already begun with a collaborative discovery process that has enabled the teams at Cogapp and the VHS to work closely together. This phase uncovers and investigates what really drives the organization whilst surfacing user needs and stakeholder objectives. Such work is the foundation of any successful web redevelopment, and in this case will help to create a vision for the next stage, and future, of the societys digital communications.
Some of the key aims for the new website are to select and implement a new CMS; to improve the user experience of the collections, catalogue and search functionality; and deliver a new look and feel, fitting to its ambitions.
A new information architecture, built around user needs, will enable VHS to take people on a journey through the fascinating stories of an American state that was the crucible of a nation. The result will offer a stimulating and authentic digital experience of Virginian history and culture.