The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2012, March 24-25

Bakken Museum

Paired with Drupal Rocks!

We exist to inspire a passion for science in people young and old through a variety of programs. The sad part is our online presence is about as archaic as some of the early 20th century vacuum tubes we have in our artifact collection. With a little bit of polish and shine, The Bakken’s website could be an open door to a new generation of science and technology hungry nerds.

The Bakken Museum is most known for our quirky mansion on the shores of Lake Calhoun. The museum and library is home to over 2,200 science and technology related artifacts ranging from historical objects to gadgets that will shock the gum right out of your mouth.

We also have a variety of public programming. This includes our Super Science Second Saturday events, 10 Best Days, Summer Camps and Invention Programs. The latter two programs pair up kids ages 6-18 with mentors (scientist working in the field) where they design anything short of their own Mecha-Godzilla or TARDIS.

Our outreach program brings The Bakken to thousands of students right in their very own classrooms. We see every 4th grade student in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Public School District through a science learning experience that includes history, experiments and a puppet show. We also reach thousands of other students through our Science Theater program where we perform shows such as “War of the Currents, Tesla vs. Edison”.

What new functionality we are looking for

We want a site that looks cool, describes what we do and can interact with the public in a way that is meaningful for them. This includes:

•Online payment system for our membership, invention programs, birthday parties and fieldtrips.

•A site map.

•Key word search.

•A Wordpress platform so our staff can keep the web information up-to-date.

•A virtual tour of the building for potential rentals.

•A cool design that would allow for a more interactive experience including games, quizzes and interaction with our artifacts.

•Flash or HTML3.

•Photo gallery that makes it easy to upload event photos.

•A resource center for teachers and parents that would connect to other pages.

•A social page that would connect with users so they could tell us their story.

•A feed from Facebook and Twitter.

•A plugin that could support a QR code guided tour.

•Compatible with mobile devices.

How the new functionality will help

Before reading on, visit Yeah, that’s our site. A new site would allow us to do the things we have been wanting to for years. We are a science and technology organization with a website that is stuck in 2003. Talk about embarrassing. Our current website is an online brochure that looks like it was built in Publisher. As of now our site has no real interactive functions that would engage our audience. A new site would allow us to extend the learning experience and give examples of some of the great activities they can experience by coming to The Bakken Museum.

1.Engage Younger Generations.

Let’s face it. Kids are tech savvy. My 2 year old nephew can log in to his parents computer with a password, start iTunes and listen to the latest Phantogram EP. Fast forward a few years, and this kid is interacting with everything via his phone and computer. The second he sees our brochure of a website, he bolts and our bounce percentage goes up. A new website would allow us to include apps and other interactive objects that will keep a younger audience engaged.

2.Increase efficiency.

At this point, registering for anything on our website is a complete hassle. We have no way for our site guests to sign up for a membership, purchase advanced tickets to high attendance events or register for our outreach program. The only way for people to do any of this is to physically print something out and mail or drop off the form. Not only are we wasting our time, we are wasting the time of our partners. Often we have teachers complain that the process is so cumbersome and time consuming. With a new site we could integrate purchasing and registering for our programs to reach a much wider audience.

3.Provide an experience beyond the museum walls.

When a kid learns about us in school or comes to the museum on a fieldtrip, they want to go home and show their parents what they learned. There is nothing on our site shows what we do in a fun way, interactive way. The Bakken staff can create the material, we just need a platform with the right plugins to tell a story and explain at home experiments in an interactive way. Right now we just have images and text.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_bakken%20homepage?1334347083 Screenshot_thumbnail

24 Messages from Supporters

2012-02-23 20:02:11 UTC

The Bakken Museum deserves a refreshed website because it is very difficult to find simple things - like membership.

2012-02-23 20:26:58 UTC

This place rules! But their website sure doesn't. The first time I visited the museum, I was floored by how freak'n COOL it was. I told the staff person that the website didn't give me any indication that they had things like a Frankenstien display or a shocking machine or hands on experiments.

Please help them! They would totally rock out a fresh site with an awesome look.

2012-02-23 20:30:06 UTC
Mpls Mom

The Bakken is a cool place to learn about science. The website doesn't really express that. I also agree with 'Annette'. I was planning my family's trip to the Museum. As I looked at the admission prices I thought, sometimes at museums it's less expensive to just buy a membership, is that the case here? Had a hard time answering my own question. Not impossible, but not intuitive.

2012-02-23 20:43:18 UTC

Absolutely love the Bakken and the fact that it's a very unique museum. The website doesn't do justice to all the wonderful hands on activities available for all ages to enjoy. Also, the ability to interact on a more Web 2.0 scale with social media would work wonders for them.

2012-02-23 21:31:22 UTC

I've heard the Bakken referred to as "the museum they don't want you to come to" because of how frustrating the website is! Totally depressing, especially because the museum is so committed to helping kids have awesome experiences with science.

2012-02-23 22:27:48 UTC

The Bakken is extremely unique. It offers much to be experienced in way of learning and observing. There is a charge of excitement that shocks you as you walk through the Museum doors. I was appalled at the drab website. It lacked all that the Bakken had to offer. As it stands the site seems half-hearted. It begs for the innovation and more interactive design.

2012-02-24 02:13:10 UTC

The website just isn't alluring at all -- from the layout, to the lack of photos. It should be a tool for engaging with the community, but at present time falls flat. I really like the idea of a virtual tour -- and some interactive elements. I am not very tech-savvy, but I can tell you how amusing something as simple as waving your cursor over the Google logo and watching it dance can be -- it engages the audience and gets people talking about it. I would like to see a revamped website that better represents what The Bakken is.

2012-02-24 02:31:57 UTC

The Bakken is an amazing Museum. A great learning experience. I feel the website screams early 2000's design and needs a revamp to better utilize social media and smart phone app platforms.

2012-02-24 04:06:47 UTC

2002 called and it wants it's template back. With a museum that has so much character on the inside, it is a crying shame that the outward web appearance is so damn shabby.

2012-02-24 07:39:25 UTC

Part of the mission of the Bakken to help people discover the mysteries of our electrical world... the website looks like it was programmed on an abacus. The Bakken does such awesome work getting kids excited about science - the website should be just as exciting.

2012-02-24 15:17:00 UTC

I heard great things about the Bakken... but the dull and confusing website didn't exactly draw me in. Good thing I visited despite the outdated website. This unique museum needs an equally special website.

2012-02-24 15:23:12 UTC

Our current website simply doesn't do justice to our dynamic museum. The website is drab to look at and unfriendly to navigate. We are a museum filled with amazing interactive activities and an enthusiastic staff of knowledgable educators and volunteers, but our website reflects none of that. We want more people to know about us and the exceptional programs we offer. We want more families to visit and be inspired by science and engineering. A new website could go a long way in drawing in new guests and keeping our loyal visitors engaged and excited.

2012-02-24 15:57:32 UTC

In today's world websites are everything. I don't use the phone to contact an org unless necessary. People are not available 24/7, but websites should be. It is so much more efficient to have as many visitors, as possible, conduct their business via the web. The Bakken Museum needs help to get this done!

2012-02-24 18:21:15 UTC

There is so much information on The Bakken website, but it is organized in a way that is confusing. Because of this, people may not know that we have some amazing workshops and assemblies that we can take offsite to schools unless they know to look for them. Folks might not be aware of the opportunities to do guided group tours even when they're not part of a school group or field trip. And of course, the ability to pay for things like memberships and programs online or to take a vitual tour of the building would be amazing resources to add. We really want The Nerdery to help us out; thanks in advance for your consideration!

2012-02-24 21:11:49 UTC

As a lazy internet surfer, I employ the "search" button more than I should.
Unfortunately, The Bakken website does not have that option and it really grinds my gears.

Also, there are far too many hoops to jump through to sign up for things (memberships, summer camp, birthday parties). This should be EASY. This should be WELCOMING. And it's not!

The Bakken Museum is a cool museum. It's quirky. It really is accessible to all ages. It's fun to visit. And as a student of art history - it's a museum that you can tackle in about an hour - and that means something. But unfortunately, this website does not illustrate the fabulousness of this museum.

Please help The Bakken's website. It desperately needs a facelift and Joan Rivers won't donate one of hers.

2012-02-25 04:15:04 UTC

The Bakken is a fantastic museum that needs a great website to match. Their current website does not fit the bill. The Nerdery developed a website for my nonprofit and did a great job. I know they can do the same for The Bakken and truly give the public an idea of all the wonderful things the musem has to offer.

2012-02-26 13:17:40 UTC

The Bakken is a fantastic museum with wonderful programs, exhibits, and a world class library. What they don't have is a website that reflects this. Please help The Bakken improve its website, so this "hidden jem" of Minneapolis, can finally shine as is should.

2012-02-26 01:56:43 UTC
Tom Wasmoen

The Bakken is a totally terrific place, a surprise and a delight to discover netled into the southwest corner of Lake Calhoun. The fun displays, games and resources can and do inspire a new generation of scientists in our children!

The Bakken needs more support, and a great new website needs to be electrifing! Help Them make it easy to gain new members and build community support for all they offer!

And make sure you see the Frankenstein Story room!

2012-02-26 15:35:07 UTC

There is so much in store for the Bakken and I feel that an improved website would help bring new people into the museum and inspire them to invent, discover, and consume themselves into everything that is science!

2012-02-27 05:17:49 UTC

An electricity museum deserves an electrifying website!

2012-02-27 19:14:12 UTC

We LOVE the Bakken and my son has participated in many classes and camps throughout the years. The website if only okay though and it would be nice to be able to navigate it more easily and sign up and pay for classes and camps quickly and simply. It would also be cool if it was creative and simple enough for the kids themselves to use!

2012-02-27 23:31:54 UTC

I work at the Bakken. I try to direct people to information on our website and I can't even find it! It's a great place and we could be a better business if our web site was functional and user friendly.

2012-02-29 02:01:59 UTC
Sarah Gioia

It seems wrong that a museum that's all about what powers websites (along with Nerdery like creativity, of course) doesn't have the most awesome website anywhere. That needs to change. Besides, does anyone who has been to the Bakken not love the Bakken? There isn't another place like it.

2012-03-03 13:49:21 UTC

I think females ARE smrtaer than males. Simply because we're more capable and besides, don't we mature earlier than men? I'd like to check the museum out. Until when is the exhibit?

Our Mission

The Bakken Museum inspires a passion for science and its potential for social good by helping people explore the history and nature of electricity and magnetism. Our goal is simple - we want to inspire young minds with a passion for science through our museum and school class room programs. Our philosophy is that everyone loves science and uses it in their daily life, even if they may not know it.