In February 2017 the Helsinki Design Museum launched the Digital Collection.
Design Museum’s Digital Collection makes it possible to exhibit the full collection of an exhibition and makes it possible for visitors to see pieces that are not physically displayed in the museum space. The Digital Collection also allows the museum to create digital archives of temporary exhibitions.
The Digital Collection adds an additional dimension to the museum experience as the museum can engage the visitors with more content. Visitors can browse the archive at their leisure within the museum or at home.
The Digital Collection allows for a deeper dive into the Design Museum’s collections. It also enhances and supports the physical visitor experience for the museum’s visitors. The Digital Collection engages the visitors with a digital experience that delights and enriches, whilst complimenting and not overpowering the physical collection of objects at the museum.
The Digital Collection has a set of specific kiosk modes to be used in devices attached next to the physical collection items in the museum. A single item or a subset of items can be locked to be shown on the devices, and this way users can search additional information while being next to the physical item itself.
The Digital Collection allows the museum experience to reach outside of the physical building, enhancing the value of the museum for their visitors pre-, during and post-visit.
The Design Collection is built as an isomorphic React application that uses Next.js and Redux under the hood. We built a customised backend that uses WordPress REST API to serve the content for the application. These technical selections were quite obvious for us as WordPress itself is familiar tool/CMS for us to work with and Next.js makes server-side rendering relatively simple.
Thanks to the Digital Collection, the Design Museum receives detailed reporting on popularity of the items within the collection, like what is popular and what items are trending, information the museum hasn’t been able to gather before. This is done by giving the visitors the opportunity to like items in the archive.
The Digital Collection also includes language support, making it possible for the museum to offer the Digital Collection service in multiple languages. This is important for the Design Museum, them having visitors and potential visitors both from Finland and all over the world.