Paul Morando, Director, U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum

The US Army Museum system faces many unique challenges when it comes to creating a web presence. The system consists of 178 different museums and historical holdings around the world and consists of an estimated 600,000 artifacts. The museum division falls under the Center for Military History and is headquartered in Washington D.C. with their main support center located in Northern Virginia at Fort Belvoir.

The museums in this system come in all shapes and sizes, and have unique missions and scope that are centered on the local commands or installations they support. Some museums play a duel hatted roll of interpreting an installation and unit or units histories all in one facility, other museums only focus on a unit or an installation. These types of museums are often referred to as “Field Museums” and typically have a staff of two individuals.

Large museums in the system tend to focus on telling the story of a specific Branch (job field) or in a few cases are Department of the Army level museums and tell the story of the entire Army. These bigger museums tend to be better established and resourced which includes a larger staff.

Mr. Paul Morando was selected for this interview due to his experience working in different sized museums and all of which had some type of web presence. His current museum’s website is at the forefront of Army museums virtual presence with several aspects of his website being the only example of that type of technology being used within the army system. Currently he is the Director of the US Army Quartermaster Museum on Fort Lee Virginia located near the city of Petersburg Virginia.

Some of the key points discussed during the interview were the fact that most Army museums do not have a website or only have very limited website that only presents contact information and hours of operation. Because of the unique challenge of access to the physical site that most Army museums face (most are located behind a gated community that requires special access) a strong web presence can greatly enhance the visitor’s connection and use of the facility.

Paul talked about his current website update project and how it was inspired due to the current site being too busy with information. He really feels that less is more on a website and if followed allows for the ability to focus the visitors attention on what the site is trying to achieve. This does beg the question if this type of philosophy limits the number of visitors the site will appeal too if it has too strong of a museum’s influence.

The US Army Quartermaster museum website can be viewed at:


  1. Michelle Padilla says:

    Hi Ryan and Paul! This was a very interesting interview in that I learned a lot about the differences between military museums and the rest of them. I thought the limitations on general visitor access and what can or should be shared online were particularly interesting challenges. It sounds like military museums have a lot of content to share and I’m excited to see how that pans out.

  2. Natalie Marsh says:

    I really enjoyed this talk because it really gave us the voice from the field. We have the luxury of dreaming big and not thinking about budgets, technology, or other barriers while in this class. These talks give us the opportunity to hear about the challenges we will face in the real world and proactively develop tactics to change these challenges into opportunities.

    The example that I see from your conversation with Paul is the questions about evaluation and public participation with regards to the development of his museum’s new website. I think this is a very easy step to skip and one that might be seen as a waste of time. However, in this course, we focused quite a lot of time on user experience and testing and see the value of these early steps to avoid expensive changes later. Paul’s comments about not knowing what the visitor likes about the site, for example the monthly artifact, is a huge challenge. I’m sure there is time spent on the selection and posting of the monthly artifact so having quantitative data (analytics) as well as visitor feedback on this feature would be so important to know if this is time well-spent.

    Thanks for a great interview as it really brought up a lot of interesting comments about going through that website development process!

  3. Patrick Cutter says:

    I think the most interesting part of this interview is the shared responsibility of non-museum personnel that are essential to the museum programs. Paul Morando mentioned that the webmaster for the Quartermaster Museum is really just the webmaster for the Quartermaster’s office, not necessarily the museum, but has to be in charge of the museum’s contributions as well. Having to work with people who are outside of the field can be challenging, but the military (or at least Morando) seems to make it work. Sometimes acclimating the professionals from the outside can be a better alternative than trying to create professionals from the inside.

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