Smithsonian Launches Site Via R/GA

NEW YORK — The Smithsonian Institution has launched a new site that is intended to act as a gateway to the 16 museums, the National Zoo and 60 Web sites affiliated with the Washington, D.C., museum and research complex.

The site ( was designed by R/GA, an Interpublic Group subsidiary, which won the assignment last fall following a review of undisclosed agencies.

The home page includes an Explore & Learn section, which links users to exhibition information from various museums based on areas of interest. Other sections highlight current events, research and membership information.

Aimed at tourists, students, teachers, volunteers and members, among others, the site uses thumbnail images and brief descriptions to illustrate museum offerings. The navigation system lets users conduct searches by museum, subject and date.

The former site, designed in 1995 by an inhouse team, showcased the exterior of the Smithsonian. “We wanted to get away from the exterior view of the buildings and take the user right inside to see what the museums are all about,” said Ted Metcalfe, senior interaction designer at R/GA. “We want the page to remain as current as the institution and be more inclusive of the museums and their audiences.”