Nose Creek Valley Museum Trailblazer Winner 2018
Nose Creek Valley Museum has a great location perched on a little hill at the entrance to a popular park where there are activities held throughout the year. The building is nondescript but has a LAV III tank and a CP Rail train caboose parked out front.
This very small team of volunteers and two curators have been running the museum for 20+ years. When you walk in and see the cougar in the lobby and peek behind the front desk you see there is a lot more than first meets the eye.
As all non-profits know it can be so hard to align your vision for your organization externally all at once. You have to do things in pieces and sometimes it takes a long time before they come together. We designed the TrailBlazer Non-Profit Fund for just this reason. To make it possible to do a large piece of work all at once helping to align vision and expedite execution.
NCVM really needed a website that would show what their vision is before people came to visit. To draw people in, to capture their imaginations compel them to make the time to visit or suggest it to schools, friends and groups.
Prototypes + Style
We spent a lot of time at the start researching the ways that small museums attracted patrons. How did they position themselves without over promising or trying to be something they weren’t? Our whole team was able to experience the passion and detail Laurie and Doug put into the work they did at the museum. They are a small, but mighty team.
The look needed to be historical-vintage but interesting and highlight all of the interesting things they offer. Colour pallet is traditional with the navy but lively and modern with the lime green.
Big history. Little Museum. From Arrowheads to Anvils. That’s the small but mighty idea turned into tagline and descriptor statement. Giving people a hint of what to expect through the messaging and the website was our goal. Create curiosity and drive people to come and see more.
This website was built using cutting edge technology that is a headless WordPress Content Management System CMS and a Gatsbyjs frontend. This means a few things for NCVM. It’s a digital experience on the edge. People visit websites and expect something that WOWs. We need to move at the speed they expect. They don’t care how we do it but they want a digital experience that is content-driven and lightning-fast. It’s also called a Progressive Web App due to the performance speed that is unparalleled in comparison to other ways of developing websites. Taking loading time from 2 seconds to 200 milliseconds. Near-instantaneous navigation means users stay engaged, rather than bouncing as they wait for it to load.
Creating an app like experience also flows into the way the program info and rental info shows up for users. Quick replies and forms that are instantly there for people to fill out keep everything easy to manage. Gastby technology also means that this website is secure – instantly scaling for traffic spikes, and shielding from CMS vulnerabilities.
In the end this project didn’t just finish with launch of the website. We continued on with doing a mini-rebrand for the museum along with updated signage. To go with the modern flair for we designed an instagram photo wall for the museum along with passport books and sticker badges to go with each exhibit. This will give the museum team the chance to change the type of experience people have at the museum.
It could flow something like this…
1. Hear about Nose Creek Valley Museum from their son’s grade 4 class.
2. He wants to go back so dad checks out website and think it looks like perfect place to go with their cousins and make a day of it.
3. When they go it seems like a no-brainer to get an annual pass so that they can see what new exhibit is next and it was incredible value for money.
4. With your annual pass you get a passport book and 1 badge. A new badge will be available every few months with visit and a hunt challenge at the museum.
5. On the way out all the kids and cousins stop at the Instagram wall for a photo opp. to share at #bighistory-littlemuseum that doesn’t feel like it is in Airdrie
6. Finally the kids inspect the LAV III tank closely on the way back to the car and everyone heads for ice cream.
We want our clients to see the whole picture of what their storytelling experience can be. It’s never just one element, it is how they are all connected together that makes a lasting impression. It doesn’t have to be grandiose but it does have to be full of love, attention to detail and a bit of the unexpected.