A new year, a new look

A new,  refreshed version of launched last week. The site was redesigned as a partnership between the Office of the Chief Information Officer and the Office of Communications and External Affairs.  A pan-Institutional Web Refresh Content Committee provided input to the contract Web designer and the Core Smithsonian project team so that the site better reflects the breadth and depth of all the Smithsonian has to offer.

Art and Design

The new design has a more modern look, with a wider display and a fresher color palette. Improvements also were made to the site to make it easier for visitors to the website to find the content they are looking for both at and within unit websites. Some of the key improvements to the site include:

  • Increased presence for Smithsonian Research Centers and Programs
  • A new “Collections” page that highlights Smithsonian collections, collection stewardship and digitization efforts
  • An improved site-wide search that will return a general list of search results that can be filtered to show related events, books, music or collections. Web visitors also can search, sort and filter exhibition listings by museum, category (Art, Science, For Kids, etc.) and more
  • More photos, videos and multimedia content
  • A new “Connect” section that puts all Smithsonian Web 2.0/social media offerings in one place, with featured YouTube videos, Flickr galleries and other multimedia

Science and Technology

Other improvements to the site include:

  • A new “Add This” feature which allows users to share Smithsonian content on popular social media platforms
  • The addition of “Google Translate,” which makes Smithsonian Web content available in more than 50 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Haitian Creole and Swahili
  • Clearly marked “Donate,” “Join” and “Shop” buttons at the top of every page to encourage users to support the Institution
  • New site-wide emergency messages that give Web visitors important museum information, such as closings during snowstorms and other emergencies. When it’s in use, the emergency message will appear across the top of all pages within the site

The main Smithsonian website includes links to existing unit and program websites. If you are interested in updating your Web page to match the new look and feel of, contact Mike Tuttle ( in OCIO for your  unit to use the templates.

History and Culture

History and Culture

Additionally, the refreshed site offers new opportunities for advertising the Smithsonian’s commercial offerings.  The bottom of the homepage will feature four advertisements—three of these ad spaces will be for Smithsonian Enterprises and one will be reserved for Smithsonian Folkways.  goSmithsonian also will be advertised in the sidebar throughout the “Visit” section and Smithsonian magazine has a permanent block on the homepage, as well as in the left sidebar on the “Explore” pages. Also on the “Explore” pages are two ad blocks—one reserved for Smithsonian Journeys and one for Smithsonian Networks.

With the launch of the refreshed site comes a renewal of our commitment to keep fresh through regular updates and iterative improvements. There are so many amazing exhibitions, events and other activities going on at the Smithsonian at any given time that it is impossible for us keep track of it all without your help. We ask you to encourage your staff to regularly check the information for your unit on and let Mara Jonas (, or Dana Small (, know of any changes or updates.

Posted: 22 December 2010
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