America on the Move
A powerful collection database drives this online exhibition of American transportation history filled with interconnected pathways, games, and learning resources.
Transportation transformed America. This dynamic companion Web site to the largest exhibition to ever have been installed in the National Museum of American History explores the past two centuries of how Americans took to the rails, roads, and water, driving the economic and cultural life of the nation. The heart of the online presentation consists of three main sections through which online visitors can seamlessly weave unique experiences tailored to their inquiry. Visitors get a historical overview in the Exhibition section, which gives context to the themes and glues together the objects chronologically. Intuitive browse and search features in the Collection section provide access to over 1,500 transportation-related artifacts and photographs. Diverse viewpoints on a variety of related topics are explored in the Themes section, where curators and historians continue to contribute new stories using artifacts and images from the collection. The addition of learning resources and three fun games makes the entire site a wonderful rich resource for collectors, enthusiasts, teachers, and students. In contrast to traditional exhibition Web sites that segregate database-driven collections sections from fixed narrative presentations, the entire structure of this site is built on a scalable database backend. This allows the collection to grow, and curated, thematic, or mediated experiences can be dynamically created at any time. Through a browser-based storytelling tool, curators at the Smithsonian create custom groupings of records, and write and publish paginated stories with custom layouts. Every image on every page of the site links to the object record in the collection; visitors can shift gears to see selected record images within other contexts and parts of the site. This interconnected, cross-pollinated approach allows visitors to explore a multitude of different pathways and perspectives that reflect unique interests, experiences, and curiosities, and the scalable structure will continue to grow over time with new objects and points of view.
Press & Awards“A Virtual Exhibit ‘On the Move,’” The Christian Science Monitor, Jim Regan, October 5, 2005
The three main sections are thoroughly interlinked—click on an image in the Exhibition or Themes sections, and the site will load details and access to a larger copy of the image from the Collection database. With so much to view, it’s worth noting that context plays as important a role as content in the website’s presentations. The benefits of ‘being there’ notwithstanding, technology certainly has its advantages.“Brand New Things,” Photo District News, Jenn Shreve, April 2004“Beyond Online Collections: Putting Objects to Work,” Museums and the Web 2004: Proceedings, Brad Johnson, April 2004Communication Arts, Site of the Week, December 2003
The site’s look is inviting, the images nicely-compressed and the writing memorable, but the true standout is the information design: The content-rich site is presented with depth and dimension in a comprehendible interface that allows easy access to a massive amount of information.Macromedia, Site of the Day, December 12, 2003Yahoo!, Pick of the Day, December 11, 2003
- Jeremy Clark
- JD Hooge
- Thomas Wester, Matt Arnold, Jeremy Clark, Sam Ward
- Systems Developer
- David Brewer
- Production Assistants
- Martin Linde, David Waingarten, Fenya Su
© 2014 Second Story, Inc.