This site is based on the data provided by the US Institute of Museum and Library Services release of the most recent Museum Universe Data File. This file contains basic data about over 35,000 museums in the United States.
(Not all the data imported properly, and so I don't have the entire set -- I'm missing maybe a couple thousand. Improving the process and updating with existing data might be an ongoing process.)
The site is built in Omeka, with a couple custom plugins for importing and displaying the data. MUD handles the import and some display filters, as well as adding the elements used in the data file. FacetByMetadata turns selected metadata fields into facets for discovering similar museums.
The data from the IMLS has been supplemented by data from the Linked Open Data source, DBpedia. DBpedia contains structured RDF data derived from Wikipedia. Based on the museum's URL from the data, I queried DB for entries that have that URL listed as their website. If I match is found, I added the following data from DBpedia when available: Wikipedia page, image, DBpedia URI, and description.
When no entry is found, this site displays an invitation from users to create a Wikipedia entry for the museum. I'll figure out what to do with updating information when the time comes.
More, and more technical, details about the process is coming along soon.
This site is running a development version of Omeka 2.2, which is not released and still under testing. I wanted to bang against 2.2 with a real site. Upshot: some things might be broken, but they're being worked on!
Me? I'm Patrick Murray-John, and I built this because I love data, making data useful, and getting cultural heritage data out in the open and sharing it.