When an organization
presents its history well on its website, we believe that it . . .
Welcomes and informs
potential members, clients and donors.
Shows how it has changed over the
years, responding to meet new needs.
memories and warms the hearts of long-time members and supporters.
Recognizes and honors the leaders
and donors who did so much
to advance its mission.
After finding that many websites of
Cleveland's Jewish organizations offered little or
no content on their history (click
here) the question arose "Do the websites of
Cleveland's major cultural organizations do a better
job in this regard?"
In October 2007 we wrote "A few do share their long and
distinguished histories on the web, but most say
little." Today (May 2010) there has been
considerable improvement, as we note below. We list
the institutions in the order of their founding year.
Western Reserve Historical Society
The WRHS is Northeast Ohio's oldest major cultural institution but
until June 2008 its website had only a few words on its history. Then it added a long, informative page on its history,
supported by new pages
on its timeline, on its
leaders: lay and
Kudos to the WRHS! To help you find the main
History page which oddly is not in the navigation menus, here is the link:
Cleveland Museum of Art
The CMA's website is new (as of May 2010) and amazing. It offers essential
information plus a large sample of the collection, and is
customizable for registered users. The web site tour will help visitors
enjoy the site.
User-friendly, but unfriendly to search engines and to websites that want to
link to interior pages. White on black text
is not easy to read.
History page (select "About", then "History and Mission") is generous in its text and supplemented by
20 captioned photos - oddly, unrelated to the text and shown in no logical order. When we created this page in 2007, the CMA had no
online history. Now we think it has one of the best. See also
Treasures of Heaven.
Cleveland Play House
History page is informative. But its 536 words of 8 pt solid text in
wide lines, with no white space and no images, make it unappealing. But at
the bottom of the page there are links to three pdf documents which, in
total, do a fine job telling the Play House story. Perhaps some day they
will be integrated and shown better. But oddly (as of May 2010) none of these pages - in fact no
page on the website, not even a news release - mentions one of the biggest steps in their 95 year
history - their April 2009 decision to move downtown to Playhouse Square.
more on the PD pages....
Cleveland Orchestra (1918)
The Cleveland Orchestra is proud of its history. Pictures from
its past hang in the Green Room and the nearby halls of Severance Hall.
Concert programs have photos of past conductors and the names of
past presidents of the Musical Arts Association.
But their website's
History page is a dull text-only page. Rewritten in October 2009, it has
a list of music directors and some on its glorious past.
Much of the page is about recent alliances and the current season. But read
in conjunction with the
Severance Hall page, their history is done well. In
our view, with some images, more on their past leaders and on the Blossom
Festival, it would be far better.
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
The link to the History page is
www.cmnh.org/about-the-museum/history It is presented one page per
decade, which has enabled a detailed timeline of growth, discoveries,
programs and exhibits. These pages, which would be much richer with images,
are text only.
happened at the museum in recent years but no one has added to the timeline
since 2010. (as of 5/5/2016)
Cleveland Institute of Music
In May 2010 we find a crisp new website - though sadly with small
fuzzy-looking - Times New Roman
- serif font. Happily they retained their history pages which in 2007 were perhaps the best virtual history
of a Cleveland cultural organization.
Written for their newsletter during their 75th anniversary year (1995-96),
they show how print materials can be effectively
re-used on the web.
Extensive text, many images and due respect shown to those who helped
shape the CIM. The pages have been updated since that time and, we are
pleased to note, are now up-to-date. Bravo!