White House Historical Association


Be our guest. In a house with an ever-changing series of temporary residents, who takes ownership of its history, care, and hospitality? Founded in 1961 by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the White House Historical Association strives to protect, preserve, and provide public access to the rich history of America’s Executive Mansion. The organization is well-known for its annual White House Christmas Ornament, but struggled with both brand recognition and online execution of one of their primary efforts — the creation and promotion of historical content. The Association needed a better way to tell historical and organizational stories in the digital age.

  • Challenge

    Help the Association increase brand recognition, improve content curation, and continue to provide an inside perspective on the The White House.

  • Solution

    Use a two-phase strategy and design approach to first understand the Association’s goals and challenges, and then create a new home for one of the world’s most famous houses.

  • Results

    Visitors now spend 79% longer on the site, compared to the same period during the previous year, while viewing an unparalleled collection of presidential artifacts and historical content.

How we did it.

  • Digital Strategy Definition

    We worked closely with WHHA to examine, explore, detail, and define the organization’s modern digital strategy prior to the kickoff of our redesign effort.

  • Content Strategy

    Thanks to our strategy phase, we knew we needed to build a system that functioned more like a dynamic publishing platform, and less a static association site, to give users multiple access points to WHHA’s vast content collection.

  • Craft Implementation

    Craft is a powerful CMS and a great choice for custom websites because developers can build instead of manipulate. Our team had multiple ‘wow, it can do that?’ moments during the site’s development.

  • Content Migration

    Gather Content let us start content migration before the site was built. We moved over 1200 pieces of historical research.

  • Pieces of historical content are no longer hidden within a confusing navigation. Users can now search the site one of three ways: via a general search bar, using a collection of pre-selected search terms, or through similar pieces of content that are surfaced based on a tagging system we created.

  • We pushed the envelope of what a CMS could do by using Craft + Flexbox, a CSS layout module that allows positioning of elements in horizontal or vertical stacks. This capability let us create the signature responsive grid we used on Collection pages.

  • Our focus on fast, responsive design helped us realize a 96% increase in mobile visit duration post-redesign, and increased the number of visitors arriving from social by 350%, year-over-year.