Client: Netherland Open Air Museum
Role: UX, visual design

Giving historically significant artifacts a stage in the digital realm

The Netherlands Open Air museum is an open-air museum park with buildings of significant historical value to the Netherlands. It is the most visited museum in the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam. I re-designed their online collection viewer and designed an online educational system that teachers can use to give classes.

The museum has a collection of over 150.000 items that showcase what daily life in the Netherlands was like throughout history. A large part of their collection has been digitalised and is available for viewing online. Users were having trouble finding the right items, and the collection needed a visual update to match with the museums’ new diamond shaped identity.

Together with the museum a plan was made to redesign the collection viewer. I categorised the collections into 8 topics, tags were added to categories and items to make it easier to search and connect items and categories.

Individual items now get the full attention they deserve, by showing full screen pictures at the top of the page. User can now zoom in and out, share pictures of the item and the item itself, and can now add items to their own collections.

Each item had an incredible amount of information stored in the database, but none of it was used in the search function, so I redesigned it to enable users to search by theme, date, category, tags and more. The page was also redesigned to use lazy loading, so users no longer have to click through (sometimes) hundreds of pages of search results.

Together with the museum we thought of ways to make users and visitors more engaged with the museum through it’s collection. Users are now able to make a profile and can make their own collections to share on social media.┬áThis encourages visitors to become on- and offline ambassadors for the museum, and the custom collections can also be used for educative purposes in schools.

The museum features a lot of interactive installations, games and scavenger hunts and these can now be tracked online in their profile. Users can earn points by making and sharing collections, writing stories about items and playing games in the museum, and can use these points to get discounts on tickets and gifts, increasing engagement and encouraging a return visit to the museum.

The museum has a program for educational material available for teachers at elementary and high schools to use in their curriculum. I was asked to redesign the system that offers these classes to be able to be used on digital school boards (as opposed to static pages with textual information).

The teacher starts out by selecting a topic on the timeline, then selecting the educational level. After picking a topic all the available material is shown in an overview, and the teacher can start a presentation made by the museum containing movies, links to collections and more. The teacher is also able to edit presentations, or make their own using clips, images and information from the museums educational database.