Three years ago, the Cleveland Museum of Art chose to leverage technology to support its lofty goals of artistic excellence, scholarship, and community engagement. The museum developed and implemented a comprehensive digital strategy to activate its world-class collection, connect art and people, promote new scholarship and support research, promote on site and online attendance, increase financial support, promote both external and internal collaboration, and help staff work smarter by targeting artwork information, interpretive content, research resources, and supporter-relationship data.
This paper will explore the scope and core elements the CMA’s digital strategy; staffing requirements and the interdepartmental steering team put in place to guide digital strategy; the backend systems put in place to support flexible access, both in theory and practice; and the effort required to pull everything together for recent high-profile information-based projects including Gallery One, ArtLens for iPad and smartphone, Collection Online, Central Table, and cloud-based Archival Repository.
The combination of master data and backend systems has moved ‘ground zero,’ and eliminated the need to start from scratch. This paper will summarize the process put in place to review the needs and guide implementation for new technology projects, reflect on lessons learned, provide practical advice for practically eliminating ‘one off’ projects.