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Balboa Park Online Collaborative Blog

Balboa Park Online Collaborative and Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC) received a generous grant from the Kress Foundation in fall 2011 to launch an exciting new project for sharing information about conservation with students and museum professionals. Seven months later we are now in full production on a series of videos with BACC.

The videos we are creating cover a range of topics in both short and long format videos relating to collections care and the use of conservation science in art historical research. The collections care videos will be a valuable resource for not just small museums but also to those maintaining personal collections and even artists themselves. We are producing videos that address detailed collections care practices such as materials for matting paper objects, framing techniques, hanging hardware and soft-packing for short-distance local transport.

Our series of videos that addresses the role of conservation science in art historical research was created in collaboration with Dr. John Marciari, Curator of European Art and Head of Provenance Research at The San Diego Museum of Art. I had the opportunity to document him in conversation with BACC Paintings Conservator Alexis Miller about several works that revealed detailed historical...

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Along with the core IT support and website management services we provide for our member orgs, we’re often asked to advise on tools and strategies. Following are five of the tech-related tools we’re loving right now:

Google Hangouts

On any given day, you can find someone in our office using Google Hangout to meet with a vendor, consultant, or off-site staff member. Up to 10 people from different locations can join a hangout, and the integration of Google Docs and screen sharing makes virtual collaboration a breeze. Oh, and it’s free.

MailChimp

MailChimp has become our enewsletter tool of choice because of its ease of use and low cost options (typically $50 - $150/month for our members, depending on list size). Importing lists, formatting, sending, tracking – it’s all simple and fun. The resource guides are helpful for more advanced uses.

Trello

Because of the rave reviews from other BPOC staff, I recently signed up for Trello, an online collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards (somewhat like Pinterest, but with more text and fewer cake pops). You can add tasks, prioritize them, and easily move them between categories like “Do,” “Doing” and “Done.”

TAP/TourML

For the past eight months or so, we...

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The Balboa Park Online Collaborative has been awarded an Empowerment Grant from the Motorola Mobility Foundation for Balboa Park APPWorks, a program that will provide interns with hands-on training and work experience in mobile app development and enhancement. Beginning this fall, BPOC’s web/mobile developers will work with San Diegans ages 18-24 to produce and launch apps that engage visitors with the Park’s history, landscape, and events.

BPOC

Our team at BPOC is excited about this program because of its multiple benefits for the park’s cultural organizations and the community. Museums sometimes struggle to attract younger and more diverse audiences to their events and exhibitions. The interns will be encouraged to think creatively about the kinds of mobile content and experiences that their peers would appreciate. They will also participate in the design, coding, trouble-shooting, testing, and release to learn about each step of app development and develop marketable technical skills.

Motorola’s Empowerment Grants support U.S.-based nonprofits in the development of mobile apps to enrich the communities they serve. BPOC (a project of the Benbough Operating Foundation) is one of 42 projects to receive an Empowerment Grant this year. Other San Diego-based nonprofits to receive grants include EvoNexus, an incubator that provides services free of charge, and...

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This past winter Balboa Park Online Collaborative helped The San Diego Museum of Art apply to join the amazing information sharing resource created by Apple, iTunes U. The application was quickly accepted and we were able to launch The San Diego Museum of Art on iTunes U in April. The pages were built working with the archive of videos I created with Alexander Jarman, Manager of Public Programs at The Museum, for various exhibitions and events over the course of 2011. Having only just begun the content production, The Museum has been most impressively filling up pages of content on iTunes U, featuring videos and audio tracks on traveling exhibitions as well as their permanent collection. Including content from popular recent exhibitions such as El Greco to Dali and Dyeing Elegance. As these are no longer on view, the content on iTunes U provides an informational archive of the great art that comes through The Museum on a regular basis.

Of course the permanent collection is always on view in various capacities, and videos about the permanent collection are consistently being added to iTunes U. In fact, one of the most frequently updated channels shares detailed information on works and artists in the permanent collection through brief insightful talks, ArtStops; these are...

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BPOC has received funding to continue to provide services to young veterans in San Diego through our Convoys to Computers program. Through the program, we provide hands-on, internship-based training for veterans interested in IT careers. Interns work with BPOC’s professional staff on a broad range of technology projects including help desk services, video editing, and exhibition installations.

The training meets an important local community need: the unemployment rate for young veterans is about 30%, compared to 8.2% for the general population.

Last month, the Office of San Diego Councilmember Todd Gloria allocated $10,000 for BPOC’s program through its Community Projects, Programs, and Services (CPPS) funds. We’re so grateful for the Councilmember’s support of BPOC and local transition-age veterans. Convoys to Computers is one of our most impactful community projects, benefitting individuals, local safety net providers, military agencies, cultural institutions in Balboa Park, and the community-at-large.

To learn more about Convoys to Computers, read this San Diego Magazine profile of one of the program...

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