A website is essential for any museum. Museum websites not only give people current information about what’s happening at the museum, but they’re also a way for people to stay connected and involved with a museum.
The website can encourage people to purchase tickets to see exhibits and events, and offer resources like blogs, virtual activities, and virtual tours that allow people to continue learning beyond the museum walls.
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The museum industry is full of great websites that effectively organize information, are easy for viewers to use, and encourage people to connect to the museum by booking tickets, following social media, and much more. Dive into the roundup of some of the best museum websites below, and get inspired with ways to make the most out of your museum’s online space!
The Phoenix Art Museum’s website is a fantastic example of drawing your audience into a particular exhibit or event. The very first section features a glance at an upcoming exhibit and makes ticket and visitor info immediately available, so the viewer doesn’t have to dig through the website to find information about the current exhibit.
As you scroll down the site, you’ll notice the information is stacked in a hierarchy. The most important information (current exhibits and visitor info) is at the top, and secondary information (groups and guided tours, shopping, dining, etc.) is toward the bottom.
Each section is clearly defined by bold purple squares that clearly label each topic category. Layering the squares over photos is an effective way to keep the website organized and easy to navigate while showcasing photos of museum space, events, and exhibits.
Field Museum’s website grabs viewers’ attention right from the home page. The eye-catching web banners place bold text over photos, effectively calling attention to upcoming events and exhibitions. The banners automatically scroll, allowing us to view the most current exhibits first, and we can pause the banners if we want to take a closer look at them.
Information about museum visits, tickets, and memberships is easily accessible at the very top of the page, making for an easy-to-navigate layout. If you’re still looking for info that isn’t readily available on the homepage, the blue square “MENU” button on the top right corner makes accessing the rest of the website incredibly simple.
As you scroll down, you’ll see a feed from the museum’s Instagram account, which features recent photos of museum visitors and exhibits. This is a perfect way to keep ongoing web content relevant and engaging for your audience.
Take inspiration from M+ and go for a web design that is bright, bold, and big! As colorful as this site is, the loud aesthetic doesn’t take away from the website’s readability because the fonts used are bold and clear.
The drop-down menu bar at the top right corner expands into a plain black-and-white menu bar so you can easily access information about visits, memberships, and more. We especially love that the menu bar scrolls down to include links to the museum’s social networks. This makes it simple to connect and stay tuned to the museum outside of the website.
The website of the Lumen Museum is an excellent example of a minimal, modern design. The use of white space makes the entire site easy to read.
Upon landing on the home page, we’re immediately prompted to sign up for an online museum membership (a great strategy for museums focused on growing their membership). We’re given more info about upcoming exhibits and events as we scroll down.
You’ll also notice the subtle use of animated images throughout the site. This adds the perfect amount of creativity and interest without distracting from the website’s readability or usability. As with most museum website designs, the hero header includes a drop-down menu that makes accessing the rest of the website easy.
This website puts the British Museum front and center, with crisp photos, a plain black background, and an overall minimal style.
Good museum website designs are well-organized and easy to navigate, and that’s exactly what this website demonstrates. The home page is organized with each section clearly defined by block widgets, clear heading text, and high-quality photos.
The expandable navigation menu, located at the top right, is simple to read and includes a “shop” button, a “search” button, and a “donate” button, which makes it incredibly easy for the viewer to do whatever it is they came to the website to do (shop, find info, donate, etc.)
It sounds obvious, but the overall design of a museum website is most effective when it matches the type of museum the website is. In this example, the Strong National Museum of Play (a fun, interactive museum) has a colorful, bold website that evokes a sense of energy.
Along with the overall playful aesthetic, the site also keeps its visitors’ needs top of mind by placing an easily-accessible menu bar and museum hours at the very top of the homepage. As you scroll down, you’ll notice clearly blocked sections for popular exhibits and a calendar of events.
The calendar is a great way to break up a particularly text-heavy page and makes it easy for people to see what events are happening.
Finally, we love the quote section near the bottom of the home page. This is a wonderful way to highlight quotes or visitor reviews and is another clever way to break up text-heavy layouts.
Some of the most interesting art museum websites utilize animation, like the animated logo introduction on the AZ Museum’s website.
The menu bar is centered at the very top of the homepage in the hero header, and the clock symbol (which activates a drop down with the museum hours) makes this website easy to navigate right from the start.
As with many art museum websites, most of the information on the home page is about upcoming exhibits. Although the layout is pretty text-heavy, the use of simple lines helps to keep all of the information clearly organized so the site is easy to read and navigate.
The Frans Hals Museum website has a unique layout with a static menu bar at the bottom of the screen rather than the top. The main menu button in the center opens a concise menu where viewers can find visitor info, exhibit info, and more.
On either side of the menu, a calendar icon, ticket icon, search bar icon, and map icon make it clear where to find events, purchase tickets, search the website, and find directions to the museum.
The use of icons effectively saves space on the web page while breaking up text-heavy content and adding a modern illustrative element to the website’s overall look.
The website of the National Museum of Natural History is well-organized, featuring a compact site menu that drops down neatly from the “MENU” button on the top right corner.
As you scroll down the page, high-quality images seamlessly float onto the page, which helps to guide the eye to the most important information on the screen, like exhibit details, virtual online tours, and more.
You’ll also notice many photos and headers cropped in a circle shape throughout the website. Web pages can easily become boxy with rectangular photos and text boxes, so using round shapes like circles to soften and compliment the website’s overall look works very nicely here.
This website by the National Museum of Australia is full of meaningful content, featuring stories that happened during the country’s bushfire and pandemic lockdown.
The very center content of the website includes a simple explanation to introduce the website’s purpose to the viewer, which is a great way to immediately draw readers in.
As you scroll, a filter option pops up in the left-hand corner of the hero header so you can easily search for the stories you’re interested in. In the top right corner of the hero header, there’s a button encouraging people to share their own stories, making it easy for content creators to share their own personal stories.
The simple and clean layout of each page on this website makes reading and navigating the site a seamless experience for the user.
This website features a unique video background on its home page showcasing stunning aerial shots of the Rhode Island School of Design Museum.
You simply navigate the website by clicking the header options at the very bottom of the page. Each page of the website features video clips of different aspects of the museum, giving the viewer a sneak peek at what the museum has to offer.
Doing all video-based backgrounds like this is one of the more unique museum website designs. Additionally, it’s an effective way to transport the viewer straight to the museum without them even having to leave their computer.
This type of museum website design resembles a simple traditional web layout, with a logo header and concise menu at the top of the page. Exhibit and event information is in the middle, and a newsletter sign-up, social media links, and web page links are at the bottom.
On the exhibitions and events pages, simple lines and high-quality images separate each exhibit and event from each other, creating an organized menu that’s easy to browse through. If a viewer finds an event or show that interests them, all they have to do is click the image to find more info.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website greets us with an attractive image of the museum and points us right away to a “Plan Your Visit” button which guides us through a seamless process of purchasing tickets, finding directions, and catching up on current museum rules and guidelines.
The site’s pages follow a basic box layout, mainly highlighting upcoming exhibits and events. One notable characteristic of this website is the collection of preliminary resources people can check out before they head to the museum. These “primers” dive into the art and history behind each exhibit.
Once you get to the museum, use the audio description tracks available on the website to guide you through the exhibits. Offering educational resources like this allows people to fully immerse themselves in the museum-going experience and keeps them clicking to your museum’s site for the information they need.
This blue website does a great job of combining a classic web layout with modern features and elements. The hero header at the top includes links to the most relevant information people may need (admission tickets, exhibit details, support info, etc.)
If you navigate to the “EXPLORE” page, you’ll see that each exhibit and event is organized by block sections and animated photos glide in as you scroll down the screen. Animated design elements like this add a subtle, modern effect to the website’s overall look and guides the eye as you read down the page.
The National Museum of Mexican Art keeps its website minimal, with only the most relevant information on its homepage. Along with the usual exhibit and events information you typically see on a museum’s home page, there’s also a collection of follow-along art activities that are on theme with the current exhibits at the museum. This is a great way for audiences, especially families with kids, to learn about the museum’s exhibits at home.
One more notable feature of this website is the social networks buttons included on the drop-down menu located in the top left corner. Adding social media icons is an easy way for people to find and follow the museum on social platforms so they can stay connected with the museum beyond the website.
As the name suggests, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam keeps its Van Gogh collection on display year-round. Since their exhibit stays pretty much the same, their website focuses on selling tickets and earning support and donations.
The home page is simply made up of the museum’s exhibits, and each exhibit listing features a giant photograph of one of Van Gogh’s works from the exhibit.
Van Gogh’s work is a big attraction in the art world, so it makes sense that the website focuses on images of some of his most well-known pieces, but this is a great strategy to use on your own site if you want to bring attention to the artwork being exhibited at your museum.
One of the most colorful museum website designs belongs to MoMA. On the home page, the very first thing we see is a list of current exhibits in a stacked block format.
While it’s easy for this type of layout to feel too busy, MoMA’s website remains readable because each exhibit description is a different color, and the photo and text placement alternates. Additionally, the bold block typeface throughout the website allows for clear readability, and the generous spacing within the text creates negative space that evens out the busyness.
The main standout feature of this site is the searchable collection which you can find under the “Art and artists” page. This is a compilation of images of the museum’s entire evolving collection and features more than 98,000 works.
This allows their collection to be even more accessible to people everywhere and even more people to be involved with the museum. This is a great and simple way to provide outreach and grow a museum’s following.
The National Museum of African American History & Culture has a website that focuses on current exhibits, but more importantly, its site also focuses on providing meaningful content that highlights African American life, history, and culture. Including additional content like this effectively demonstrates a museum’s purpose and values in a way that’s relevant to viewers.
As for the web design itself, the clean layout makes the site simple to navigate and easy to read. A drop-down menu on the right reveals clear headings, and most notable on the home page (after scrolling down a bit) is a split-column list of upcoming events and recent news.
This column format is especially easy to read and is a fantastic way to save space on a web layout while ensuring all relevant information still fits on the page.
This website has a clean look focusing mainly on bold photos with minimal block text headings. Even more than the striking aesthetic, The Museum of Brisbane is unique because it offers an inclusive experience for visitors with sensory considerations, people who need interpreters and translators, and more.
Their “Access” page is a great reference for museums that want to highlight the accommodations they offer for an accessible experience. On this page, the toggle drop-down buttons keep all of the information compact so the reader isn’t endlessly scrolling to find the info they need. (Drop-down toggle menus are fantastic for pages with a lot of information.)
The Rijksmuseum is located in Amsterdam, and their website is another good example to go off of for designing a site with an inclusive experience. Right off the bat in the hero header, we see there’s a “Language” drop down menu so the viewer can read the website in their language of choice.
Their accessibility page (which you can access by clicking on the drop-down menu in the top left corner of the home page) organizes the content in paragraphs. Although this design is text-heavy, the clean font, bold headings, and line spacing make the information easier. Also, note how the red button at the bottom of the page (and at the top in the hero header) makes booking tickets for an exhibit simple.
This site follows a similar layout to other museum website designs, but we especially love the JANM blog section located toward the bottom of the home page.
Featuring a section of recent blog articles is an effective way to let people know the museum has a blog and give viewers exclusive content about exhibits and events so they can stay up to date on what’s happening at the museum. The scroll arrows on the home page make it simple for people to find articles they’re interested in.
At the very bottom of the home page is a sign-up field to subscribe to the blog and museum newsletters. Placing a spot for people to subscribe in this way will help your museum gain and keep followers as well.
Blocks of color and bold images fit the mood in this children’s museum web design, but bold colors look just as nice on any museum’s website.
The color block column layout is the most unique part of this site’s asymmetrical layout. As we scroll down the home page, we see the upcoming events column (on a white background) next to ongoing events like day camps and birthday parties (on a colored background). The contrasting colored backgrounds make a unique look while keeping the content organized.
Drop shadows, bold colored shapes, and clearly defined lines create a sharp and modern overall look for the Ulster Museum’s website. The simple color scheme (white, black, and yellow) guarantees the website is easily readable.
As you scroll down the home page, you’ll see a yellow banner labeled “EXPLORE THE MUSEUM.” This accent banner is a fantastic way to grab a reader’s attention to important information, and it fits in nicely with the website’s overall design.
The Design Museum of Denmark’s site is another example of a website that tastefully uses an animated backdrop on the home page. The white block text contrasts perfectly with the dark video, so they complement each other rather than compete.
We also love how the background changes color as you continue scrolling down the home page. Each color compliments the photo placed in its section, making each color transition seamless.
The Hecksher Museum of Art’s website features traditional web design elements (a static hero header at the top that guides viewers toward each main page of the site, a banner with information about the current exhibit, etc.)
When you click on each web page in the header, you’ll see that the rest of the pages appear in a drop down menu, allowing the viewer to quickly find what page they’re looking for. As you scroll down the home page, you’ll notice each home page section is neatly organized and divided by lines and simple headers. Both the hero header and the layout of the home page makes the entire website (which has a lot of information) organized and easy to navigate.
Final Thoughts on Museum Websites
Museum websites must be efficiently organized and easy to navigate so that viewers can book tickets, look up exhibits and events, and find the information they need to participate and be involved with the museum’s community. Along with usability, museum sites need to look appealing and reflect a little creativity and personality to match the overall brand of the museum.
Take inspiration from the standout features of the websites in this list, and apply some of them to your museum’s website to create an effective overall design and an on-brand aesthetic that grabs the viewer’s attention.