Spellerberg Associates

Case Studies

Andy Warhol Museum

Photo by Dean Kaufman © Andy Warhol Museum

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Andy Warhol Museum holds the most extensive collection of Warhol’s artworks and archival materials. Our ongoing engagement as their outside web team began in 2016 with a website redesign and redevelopment and has grown to include maintenance, adding additional functionality and content, and deploying microsites.

We tailored our approach to the Warhol’s unique requirements and target audience. Because our research determined that most visitors to the Warhol website are socially motivated, we based the concept around presenting a preview of what visitors can expect during their Museum visit. Given agreements with the Andy Warhol Foundation, it isn’t an option to center layouts on high-quality reproductions of Warhol’s painting. Instead, we highlight images of visitors, paired with bold typography and color. Web accessibility is essential to the Warhol, and the site is entirely WCAG 2.0 compliant. We continue to support access through ongoing QA testing and remediation.

Our engagement works for the Museum because it allows them to meet their varied digital needs without staffing-up internally. We bring a depth of industry-specific knowledge and the flexibility to support whatever they put in front of us.

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Clyfford Still Museum

Photo by James Florio © Clyfford Still Museum

Located in Denver, Colorado, the Clyfford Still Museum holds the most extensive intact public collection of any major artist. Our work progressed throughout a five-year engagement, beginning in 2014 with a website redesign and redevelopment. We then took over maintenance and the webmaster role. Additionally, we developed several web-based projects for in-gallery use, including a touchscreen video kiosk platform and the digital catalogue for the Works on Paper exhibit. We played a support role in the deployment of their online catalogue and award-winning podcast A Daughter’s Voice.

Our engagement took place during a phase of growth for the Museum. At the outset, Executive Director Dean Sobel expressed his vision that the Still could become a pilgrimage destination for art lovers. Working in close collaboration with members of the internal staff, we developed the Museum’s digital presence into a robust reflection of the Museum’s role in the cultural life of its home city, and a resource with a national profile.

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Santa Cruz MAH

Photo © Santa Cruz MAH

Located near the Silicon Valley region of California, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History serves the residents of its county through unique events and exhibitions created in collaboration with community partners. Our engagement progressed over eight years, beginning in 2011 with a website redesign and redevelopment. In addition to handling webmaster duties, ongoing maintenance, and functionality development, we created digital systems reflecting the institution’s core values of community engagement. These included the evaluation and integration of CRM platforms and the development of microsites to support on-site and online member engagement.

Our work with the MAH coincided with Nina Simon’s tenure as Executive Director, a period in which the Museum transformed from an institution struggling with a financial crisis and facing layoffs, to a healthy, vibrant and essential cultural hub. In a blog post, Simon praised our work, saying, “Marty is everything I could have wanted from a designer — he over delivered on my vague directives and pushed me to think more rigorously about what we were trying to do.”

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Research & Development

Museum Website Visitor Motivation Study

Circa 2016, we co-led a study into the motivations of museum website visitors, with 23 institutions participating. We presented this work through several conference presentations and in an article in the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing.

The project surveyed the motivations of visitors to museum websites, based on the framework of visitor motivation developed by museum researcher John Falk. We collected quantitative data through each institution’s Google Analytics account.

For an overview of the project, see our post about the MW 2016 presentation. To watch various study participants present on their findings, see the video of the MCN 2016 presentation. And for an introduction to the article, see our post about the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing.

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Spellerberg Projects

Spellerberg Projects is a non-commercial gallery and artist-run DIY space in Lockhart, Texas, that presents exhibitions and public programs featuring local, national, and international artists. We began this initiative in 2016 as a way to develop, through hands-on experience, greater insight into the needs of cultural organizations.

In this work, we build-out exhibit spaces, curate shows, design, and stage exhibits, promote events, develop community, write grants, and evaluate audiences. These hard skills take us beyond the experience and know-how of other digital service firms working in the cultural space.

Moreover, through this work, we’ve had a direct positive impact on the city in which we chose to start up. As we’ve observed the creative community blossoming around the gallery, we’ve come to understand that our choice to start what we did, where we did, took an act of visionary leadership.

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