Pomona College launches new website for museum

by Mick Rhodes | mickrhodes@claremont-courier.com

Though its opening has been scuttled due to coronavirus restrictions, there is still much happening at Pomona College’s brand new Benton Museum.

The $44 million facility, which was set to open this fall, is installing its inaugural season of exhibitions and launched its new website earlier this month.

“We hope that the array of exhibition and collection images—both past and present—will inspire you, challenge you, and remind you how we are continuing to work with the students, staff, and faculty in our academic community to foster meaningful conversations about art and the transformative power it can have,” read a Benton press release from director Victoria Sancho Lobis.

The new website is https://www.pomona.edu/museum.

A year in development, the project lead for the website redesign was Communication and Engagement Manager Justine Bae Bias. Senior curator Rebecca McGrew and Nathan Stazewski, director of communications technology and strategy in the Pomona College Office of Communications, were also instrumental. 

“I really want to give a shout out Justine Bae Bias,” said Ms. Sancho Lobis. “She was really the project manager on the museum side. She is behind a lot of our communication efforts and just really put her heart and soul into this website.”

The website user experience took its cues from the Benton’s architecture: light on the eye, with lots of volume inside, while at the same time vibrant and dynamic.

“We wanted for there to be a lot of air, with space around words, and for it to be clear and easy to navigate, so we put the navigation bar up at the top, which we hope really helps people find what they’re looking for,” Ms. Sancho Lobis said.

The website was developed by NewCity: Web Design and Digital Strategy Agency. It was established in conjunction with the museum’s new brand identity, led by Kimberly Varella of Content Object Design Studio.

“I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know our holdings,” Ms. Sancho Lobis said. “And one of the things that we’re so excited to do with this new building and new website is to try to make those collections more visible and more accessible through searches that people can do on the website under the ‘Collections’ tab, and also through the different types of in-person experiences that our building can facilitate.”

The hope had been to open the Benton around now, but those plans were put in jeopardy when the coronavirus pandemic hit the US in March. Now nine months later it’s clear the champagne will need to remain on ice, as Los Angeles County was recently reassigned to the most restrictive purple tier of the state’s COVID classification system, with all indoor museums ordered closed.

Still, with the Benton being prepped for its debut, more and more art going up, the new website live and the fledgling institution’s brand identity established, it’s an apex of sorts.

“It’s just been so exciting to be here and to now have all the components of our identity in full alignment,” Ms. Sancho Lobis said. “We now have a new name, a new building, a new brand identity, and we just got our new stationery. The website feels like the real public culmination of all of that work to consolidate who we now are as we look forward to welcoming our academic community and neighbors here in Claremont and in the inland cities, into our building just as soon as we’re able.”




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