Muscatine Art Center - Merging History & Design

The Muscatine Art Center was in need of a new website that could draw a younger crowd and build their membership numbers.


The Muscatine Art Center is a jewel of eastern Iowa history that is constantly evolving. With a history dating back to 1908, the nonprofit institution doubles as both a historic mansion and a modern-day art museum. This unique blending of old and new, history and art, preservation and innovation was key when designing a site that could stand out and build interest in the art center.


But first: the beginning. The Muscatine Art Center was in need of a digital revamp, an online presence that could draw new eyeballs to their site — and new visitors through their doors. When the Applied Art team signed on for the project, we first did what we always do: identify the problem that needed to be solved.


For the Muscatine Art Center, their problem was an inability to attract museum visitors through their site, including younger people who could contribute to their donor base. (As it turns out, reaching a younger audience is a common problem for many of today’s museums and other nonprofit institutions.)


Our solution? Design a modern and intuitive website that embraces the museum’s rich history, while showcasing its rotating art exhibits, classes and events for young people.


Caitlin McTaggart, project manager, started the process by conducting a site-wide audit of the art center’s existing content. This information was then used to determine the site’s navigation and layout.


“This website is a great example of how history and design can merge to create something new.” — Caitlin McTaggart, web team project manager


In addition to the new site design, our marketing team assisted in writing copy for new sections of the site, including many of the interior pages that detailed the museum’s history, mission and volunteer opportunities.


Meanwhile, our web team created a site design that played off the museum’s muted tones, juxtaposing charcoal grays, browns and burgundies with visually striking imagery and large artwork.



After the design was approved, we went to work on the development of the site, building new functionality that would allow visitors to more easily learn about the art center and get involved.


Some of the new site’s features include:


  • Integrated collections database
  • Customizable event calendar
  • Interactive directions map
  • Intuitive contact forms


At the same time, our team built a user-friendly interface on the site’s back end for art center employees to upload collections and promote events.

Click here to check out our new website for the Muscatine Art Center.


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