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Museums and Drupal

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Saved by Nancy Proctor
on July 24, 2010 at 10:43:20 pm



The content management system Drupal is experiencing growing popularity and adoption in the museum field. Drupal offers significant benefits to museums: it’s powerful, widely supported and open source. Our paper will explore the use of Drupal within the museum community.


Our paper will present the results of a survey of a wide range of museums (art, science, history, large and small) that are currently using Drupal. We will examine the primary benefits and challenges of the system for museums.

Has Drupal met the museum’s expectations? What unexpected issues did the museum encounter in adopting Drupal? Were they technical challenge or issues of workflow and change management?


What are the most commonly deployed Drupal modules? Are administrative users limited to the webmaster or web team or does staff from across the institution update their own sections of the site? Has Drupal been a challenge for non-technical museum staff?

Does Drupal scale to support the needs to the largest, most heavily trafficked sites? Is there an impact on hosting requirements when an institution adopts Drupal?


One of the concerns about using open source technologies is the absence of a product vendor to provide service and support. How do museums handle ongoing service and support issues for Drupal-powered sites? Has the lack of a conventional product vendor (and the presence of a large community of independent Drupal developers) proven to be a burden or an opportunity for museums?


One of the greatest strengths of Drupal is its extensive and rapidly growing library of community-contributed modules. Our paper will explore Drupal modules that have been developed by museums (some of which have been contributed back to the community) and modules that address issues of particular concern to museums including:


• Integration of external data sources such as data from Collections Management Systems and Digital Asset Management Systems such as the online collections of the Art Institute of Chicago
• CRM tools such as CiviCRM
• E-commerce modules such as Ubercart
• Calendar module being developed by Balboa Park Online Collaborative
• Calendar and TAP mobile platform developed by the Indianapolis Museum of Art


Finally we’ll look at the some of opportunities offered by the upcoming release of Drupal 7.



Session Info 

  • Keywords: Drupal, open source, content management systems
  • Relevance: Our paper is designed for museums currently using Drupal and those considering their content management system options. The paper will be relevant for IT and web staff at a range of large and small museums.

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