Brattleboro History Center

squares_bhcThe Brattleboro Historical Society has been online for many years, but needed a new web site that would make it easier for volunteers to update with new photos, events, and virtual exhibits. At the same time, BHS was thinking about opening a new exhibit space on Main Street in downtown Brattleboro and was looking for guidance in setting up a new museum space for the public.

MuseArts was contracted to create the new web site and to assist with setting up, opening, and operating the new Brattleboro History Center.

The Web Site

The new Brattleboro Historical Society web site involved a new design and a new content management system to help organize and present hundreds of historic photos. We used a responsive design for this site, enabling it to resize gracefully for viewers on desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones.

MuseArts helped create a tagging and categorization system for volunteers import images as well as image galleries and slide shows for their display.  Volunteers can select images from the collection and create curated slide presentations, or use images in stories on the site.

The site also provides information about the new History Center, has a blog to announce events,  enables sales from the Gift Shop, and encourages people to join the organization.

The History Center

bhc_logoThe trustees of the Brattleboro Historical Society  provided a wish list of activities and events they envisioned for the history center. Drawing upon years of experience in hands-on museums, MuseArts was able to coordinate the ideas and skills of the BHS team of volunteers and guide its creation and fulfill most of the wish list items.

A portion of a large room was rented from the Masonic Lodge.  Walls with electrical outlets and a doorway were constructed in a way to be be removed, if necessary. MuseArts advised on the layout of the room, aiming for a flexible space that could be adapted quickly for varying needs.

One goal was to be able to feature items from the BHS collection for the public to see. To this end, display cases and mannequins were installed and wall space was prepped for picture hanging.  A regular schedule of changing displays was established, with new items made available monthly for Gallery Walk.

bhc_visitors-300x300Large, historic Brattleboro signs were hung. Old maps, portraits, clothing, toys, and newspapers were displayed. The room is filled with Brattleboro history.

Another goal was to create a space that could be alive with activity, and could encourage community members to use the room. A backstage work area and upstairs storage room help facilitate volunteer projects, and special dispaly areas were made available for community collections.

MuseArts designed a logo and helped create signs and marketing materials for the new history center. We created a volunteer handbook, advised on fundraising opportunities, and brainstormed possible events. MuseArts created forms and instructions.

The new Brattleboro History Center opened in June of 2013.  Hundreds of visitors from in town, around the country and even other continents had visited within the first few months.