SMK

Building a game-changing experience in the world of museums

The new SMK.dk and SMK Open have proven to be valuable resources for the general public and art professionals. Achieving SMK’s ambitions.

Introduction

SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery of Denmark) is the largest art museum in Denmark and informally known as the ‘main museum’ for visual art in the country. Located in the heart of Copenhagen, SMK exhibits an internationally recognized art collection and welcomes over 400,000 visitors each year.

With responsibility for nurturing and cultivating activities in and between museums across Denmark and abroad, SMK has a clear strategy to unlock the potential of new target groups and more people. SMK wants to achieve these goals for their art, by going beyond the physical confines of art into the digital sphere.

Challenge

SMK wanted not only a completely new SMK.dk website, but also a new digital platform and service that would make their enormous collection of more than 260,000 works of art access able online and with a more engaging experience for their visitors. The new platform named SMK Open.

Although two separate projects then intertwined, as the SMK.dk website would also service as gateway to SMK Open and vice versa. Both build on SMK’s belief in and vision of making art available and relevant for far more people in Denmark and abroad.

Solution

In close collaboration with the design firm 1508, our Strømlin team assisted SMK in achieving their vision. Strømlin has provided the technical foundation for both the new SMK.dk website, launched in autumn 2018, and the SMK – Open, launched in late 2019.

The CMS for SMK.dk is WordPress. To accommodate the workflow requirements of the many different content providers, as well as the design and frontend developers, we extended SMK’s open API and developed what is known as a headless CMS. This resolves the constraints of the WordPress CMS, provides a backend that is easy to work with and gives full flexibility under the given design guidelines.

The SMK Open solution is an exploration of the boundaries of digitalization with involvement of revolutionizing technologies. It is based on SMK’s own public API extended by Strømlin and the advanced use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, enables visitors to search and explore more than 40,000 different works of art. Building the comprehensive information and database of SMK Open, we used crowd-sourcing by extracting of relevant data from Wikidata og Wikipedia. The number of works of art and the information available is growing daily.

The visitors’ experience of the new website and SMK Open is unique. The frontend of the website needed to be visually beautiful and rich but fast to navigate, which demanded a backend of the new SMK.dk that complemented the digital infrastructure and integrated with SMK’s search clusters. The solution give visitors a modern digital experience of art at SMK, with access to a vast amount of very diverse content portfolio, comprising of 3D models, high-resolution images, explanatory texts, audio and video.

The innovative technology approach in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning caught the attention of leading technology and engineering media ‘Teknologiens Mediehus’ (in Danish): www.ing.dk

Video with Anton Stonor, CTO at Strømlin talking about SMK Open.

Result

During our initial talks with the SMK team, it was clear that their ambition with their new website and SMK Open was to offer a game-changing online experience in the world of museums. And the result speaks for itself. Both beautiful sites and for the SMK Open solution stands out as a technologically amazing solution. It is a captivating experience, and we invite you to go play on https://open.smk.dk/en/.

Based on the feedback from SMK’s visitors, the media and other key stakeholders, SMK has successfully achieved this. Both SMK.dk and SMK Open have proven to be valuable resources for the general public and art professionals. We are very proud to be part of this project and continue our involvement in helping SMK develop the full-scale digitalization of SMK’s art collection.

In 2019, the new SMK.dk website was awarded a Creative Circle Silver in the category Digital /Design/Relaunch: www.markedsforing.dk.

Nordea Fonden funded the SMK Open project and also praised the result (in Danish): www.nordeafonden.dk

Testimonial

'SMK Open is a dream come through for all of us at SMK. With this new digital service, we can now share our complete offering of knowledge and works of art as digital building blocks. An important component is the online collection that we wanted to make available to anyone with an interest in art - not just professional art historians. Naturally with high quality images, but also with easy, intuitive access for visitors and a user friendly interface. In collaboration with Strømlin / 1508 we successfully launched SMK Open in 2019, and SMK has thereby taken a great step towards democratizing our common Danish cultural heritage.'

Jonas Heide Smith, Head of Digital at SMK, The National Gallery of Denmark

Read more on what Jonas Heide Smith
from SMK has to say:

medium.com/smk-open/

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