From Artifacts to Context

In February 2016, The Henry Ford launched a completely redesigned website as part of a radical institutional shift to active digital content publishing, in which we provide connections and context to users through digital storytelling. The “Explore” storytelling hub of the site contains our blog, enthusiast pages, and episode pages for our weekly TV show, as well as brand-new content like highly-designed “What If” stories, “Connect3” videos linking disparate artifacts, and “Inside The Henry Ford” stories showcasing the process of designing exhibits and caring for artifacts. While storytelling is not new for us (or any museum), feeding all of these new content channels requires a whole new way of working: an institutional “Digital Content Engine.” This presentation will discuss how our cross-functional Digital Content Engine (DCE) was developed, from the earliest stages of planning (including tapping our ever-growing digital collections as the atomic elements of these stories), budgeting (including the content marketing/future revenue financial promise of the DCE), and approval, to a fully functioning digital publishing machine. Topics covered include how The Henry Ford has handled staffing (including brand-new roles developed just for the DCE), idea development and prioritization, and project/program management for the effort, as well as the many types of content developed as part of this effort and what analytics tell us about how we are performing toward our high-level goal to shift our institutional business model and “create compelling digital experiences that inspire national attention and fulfill the promise of inspiring innovation.” Speaker(s) Session Leader : Ellice Engdahl, Digital Collections & Content Manager, The Henry Ford MCN 2016 Presenting Sponsor: Piction New Orleans, LA