MAAS releases a new online collection website

Over the last six months, a project team at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) has been hard at work redesigning the MAAS online collection website, which is is now live and available at

The collection website allows online visitors to search the vast and diverse collection, enabling access to object records, photographs and in-depth information prepared by the Museum’s staff over decades.

It is a significant global resource, used by visitors from around the world including researchers, designers, students and people doing serendipitous research.

MAAS was one of the earliest institutions that led the way in making its collection data publicly available online. Much of the previous developments were implemented over 10 years ago, and both web technology, as well as audience behaviors, have changed significantly over that time.

The present redesign was aimed at updating the site to better cater to how people use the web today, on a variety of devices, while building the infrastructure to continue adding rich collection data in the future.

The previous online collection was hosted on the web servers at the Powerhouse Museum, however, the new collection site it is built entirely on a cloud-based platform. This offers scalability, meaning the infrastructure can grow to meet demand. The site is updated every 30 minutes, so any new acquisitions or changes to records are available to the public immediately.

Key features of the new site:

  • An expanded catalogue of 130,000+ searchable collection records
  • A new visual design with a focus on imagery, using responsive layouts optimized for mobile screens
  • A redesigned object page that allows for quick scanning of object information as well as expansion to display comprehensive object data
  • A powerful, fast search interface for the collection that accommodates complex searches as well as simple ways to filter through results
  • Recommendations of other related objects, as well as related events, articles and exhibitions.
  • High-resolution images of most collection objects, with zooming functionality allowing for detailed exploration.
  • Collection sets – galleries of objects united by a theme, inviting exploration of the breadth of the MAAS collection.


If you would like to know more about what was involved technically, Kaho Cheung the Senior Digital Developer/Producer has written about it on the MAAS Labs Blog.

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