Updates to the Curatescape Omeka theme


The latest version of the Curatescape theme for Omeka was released yesterday. The new design is currently live on clevelandhistorical.org and will be rolled out to existing users in the coming weeks (open source users can grab a copy from Github). The theme will look familiar to some, but includes a number of key changes and a ton of improvements that make it more than a simple design refresh. The front end has been almost entirely rewritten, with much cleaner markup, more consistent styling and typography, more semantic structure, and vastly improved accessibility, loading times, and overall page size. We think you’ll like it.

Key changes

  • Better typography
  • New navigation scheme including a flexible “offscreen” menu with support for nested pages and more
  • New fullscreen image viewer with support for gestures and pinch-to-zoom on mobile devices
  • Improved UI/UX for items with multiple audio and/or video files
  • Item pages now feature a hero image at the top of the page instead of a map
  • Improved tour navigation at top and bottom of each stop when a tour is active
  • Disqus comments are now loaded after the user opts in with a click

Theme Options

  • New homepage options
  • New map options
  • New search options
  • New navigation options
  • New social media options
  • New font services options

Introducing Curatescape version 2

We’re pleased to announce that we’re almost done rolling out some big changes to Curatescape, including a totally redesigned app framework, as well as some nice improvements to the maps on Curatescape websites.

About the New Mobile Apps

We’ve redesigned Curatescape from the ground up, giving the apps a fresh modern look that fits right in with modern design conventions for iOS and Android. Clients now have a number of options for styling and customizing their apps to better express their project’s brand identity.


The map is still a big part of the apps, but now it’s not the only way to find nearby stories. Users are now welcomed with a text-based list of the closest stories (including an indication of how far away they are from each location), making it much easier to browse and scan results. We’ve even included pull-to-refresh so users can easily get a new list of stories as they move around the city.


Speaking of location, the newly-designed map includes customizable markers, image-enhanced info windows for each location, and runs on Open Street Maps data.


The reading experience is similar to the view in the older iOS apps but much improved, and with a heavier emphasis on beautiful images. It also includes more of the custom fields found on Curatescape websites, including subtitles, author bylines, sponsorship, street address, and more.


Tours now have an interactive map that displays each location on the route, which was a frequent request from our users, who have long enjoyed that feature on the project websites.


The about page now includes live data from your website, rather than the static image that appeared in the old apps.


The new sidebar menu also contains prominent links to each project’s social media accounts and contact info, giving users a direct link for feedback and further engagement.


The apps now use system-standard sharing options, meaning users can share your stories on any platform that runs on their phone instead of just the ones we choose.


Overall, the performance, reliability, and design of the Curatescape apps are all much improved from earlier versions. Nevertheless, there’s always room for improvement. By starting over from scratch, we’ve shed a lot of baggage and given ourselves a platform that we can build upon over time. We’re really excited to be rolling out these changes for our existing clients and look forward to deploying quite a few new projects in the coming year.

Technology (nerd stuff)

If you’re interested to know, the technologies and tools used to create the new apps include Apache Cordova, Ionic, Geolib, Maki Markers, OpenStreetMapLeaflet, and of course Omeka. We love open source software and want to share our gratitude for the great work done by everyone involved in these projects!

Marker Clustering (and more) in Curatescape Web Maps

In addition to the big changes to the Curatescape apps, we’re also working on some cool updates to the Omeka theme. Check out the video below (or visit clevelandhistorical.org) to preview the new marker clustering feature.

We’ve updated the maps to use Open Street Maps data, incorporating beautiful high-resolution tiles from CartoDB, customizable vector markers from Mapbox’s Maki icon set, and all new theme options to control the color and styles of your map. The clustering feature is configurable for each project (and can be turned off altogether if it’s not right for your content). We’ve switched to the Leaflet mapping library, which allows us to create lovely custom info windows, so that when users click on a marker, they get a nice big image preview.

Importantly, these improvements didn’t add to the overall page load (in fact, we’ve trimmed it down a bit). Stay tuned for more in the coming year as we continue to improve Curatescape!

Curatescape projects begin feeding data into Google’s Field Trip app

FT-app-icon-150x150 copyCuratescape project Salt River Stories this weekend became the first in a series of planned partnerships with Google and Niantic Labs, in which geolocated historical stories will be made available in the Field Trip mobile app. While individual Curatescape projects will continue to have their own website and mobile apps, we are excited to begin sharing select works through additional venues such as Field Trip, bringing the work of participating Curatescape partners to an even wider audience.

The data sharing process is accomplished seamlessly and automatically via an Omeka plugin which Curatescape project administrators may add to their site after making formal arrangement with the Field Trip team. Each story shared in Field Trip is linked back to the original source on the web. Field Trip users are encouraged to view additional info and media on the source Curatescape website (where they will also be encouraged to download the project app), helping Curatescape projects to reach a broad new audience.

About Salt River Stories

“Salt River Stories brings the history, cultures, and communities of the Valley of the Sun, the Phoenix-Scottsdale-Tempe metro area to your fingertips. Salt River Stories is a project of Arizona State University and Papago Salado Association. It is powered by Omeka + Curatescape, a humanities-centered web and mobile framework available for both Android and iOS devices.” Learn more at: saltriverstories.org

About Field Trip

“Field Trip is your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you. It’s your world, explore it!” Learn more at: www.fieldtripper.com

About Curatescape

Curatescape is a web and mobile app framework for publishing location-based content using the Omeka content management system. Curatescape is an affordable and user-friendly solution that allows small to mid-sized cultural organizations, preservation groups, or educational institutions an opportunity to reclaim their interpretive voice and reconnect to their communities and audiences.

Learn more at: curatescape.org/about