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Balboa Park Online Collaborative Blog

We've continued to install wireless access points in museums across Balboa Park, from the San Diego Air & Space Museum north to the San Diego Museum of Man and down the El Prado walkway to the San Diego History Center.

The need for high-density WiFi – indoors and outdoors – stemmed from the growing use of mobile devices and applications by a large number of Balboa Park's 10-14 million annual visitors.

Prior to this parkwide initiative, Balboa Park had a pilot project with wireless access points at a handful of kiosks and museums but coverage was not pervasive and didn't offer broadband access outdoors. Thanks to generous local support, we have been able to dramatically increase our visitors' connectivity.  

Look for colorful decals on the front doors of museums where WiFi is available. Because we partnered with Ruckus Wireless to deploy particularly strong access points, the WiFi reach often extends to museums' surrounding walkways, gardens, and parking lots.

Wifi decal

WiFi access is now available at the following park locations: House of Hospitality/Prado Restaurant, Japanese Friendship Garden, Mingei International Museum, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego Automotive Museum, San...

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We are excited to welcome Vivian Kung Haga as our Deputy Director at BPOC.

Vivian will oversee BPOC’s daily operations, human resources, and grants management. From 2002-2011, Vivian worked at the Museum of Photographic Arts, first serving as Director of Education and ending as Deputy Director. She oversaw operations of 16 full-time and 28 part-time staff members and a 2.2 million dollar operating budget. She also led the museum in cutting-edge technology, accessibility, and visitor experience initiatives. Prior to working at MOPA, Vivian was a consulting curator at ArtReach International, Assistant Curator at The Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee, and Educator at the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio. Vivian has an M.A. in History of Art from Ohio State University and a B.A. in Art History from the University of California, San Diego.

“BPOC’s members and projects have grown quickly since our start nearly three years ago,” said Rich Cherry, BPOC Director. “Vivian’s experience as a museum administrator will help us greatly as we transition from a pilot project to a sustainable and successful organization.”

During the past few months BPOC has also hired additional employees in areas of technology, fund development, and administration. They include Charlene Browne, Senior Development Officer; Marcos Corro and Alejandro Rubio, Web Developers; Jennelise Hafen...

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The Balboa Park Online Collaborative and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media are working with the Institute of Museum and Library Services to plan the 2012 WebWise Conference.

LeVar BurtonTo some, he’s Geordi La Forge. To others, he’s Kunta Kinte. To ‘80s babies, he’s that guy from “Reading Rainbow.”

But LeVar Burton is also a champion for libraries and museums—and one of this year’s keynote speakers for the 2012 WebWise Conference, themed “Tradition and Innovation.” Sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the annual conference brings together representatives of museums, libraries, archives, education, and other fields to explore opportunities made possible by digital technologies. This year’s conference will be held in Baltimore from February 29-March 2, with LeVar speaking during the morning of Thursday, March 1.

When brainstorming possible keynote speakers, the WebWise planning committee didn’t start with IMDB. But as we starting compiling our list—jotting down authors, professors, and technology leaders—LeVar came to mind.  He had visited several Balboa Park museums last year to develop video content for his RRKidz mobile app. The soon-to-launch app is designed to bring the spirit of “Reading Rainbow” to a new...

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Media Release
Contact: Maren Dougherty
Balboa Park Online Collaborative
Phone: 619-819-9200

San Diego, CA –Almost three years ago, the Legler Benbough Foundation initiated the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) to address common technological problems faced by museums and performing arts organizations in Balboa Park while improving public access to their rich cultural resources. In a departure from past practice of funding individual projects at organizations in Balboa Park, the Foundation invested a significant amount of funding ($3 million over three years) to support a focused effort to improve and enhance the use of technology across organizations. Today, BPOC provides a variety of technology services to the arts, science, and cultural institutions in Balboa Park and has grown from 17 to 27 members. In recognition of BPOC’s progress and its value to the Park’s cultural institutions, the Foundation has pledged to continue support for BPOC at the same level through 2012.

BPOC has matched the annual Foundation support with grants from national funding sources such as the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services as well as local philanthropists such as Joan and Irwin Jacobs. Members also support its sustainability via fee-for-service projects and contracted IT support that BPOC provides for a dozen Park organizations...

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This is a snapshot of one of more than 40 wireless access points that the Balboa Park Online Collaborative has installed in Balboa Park.

Free WiFi access is now available at the following park locations: House of Hospitality, Mingei International Museum, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego Hall of Champions, San Diego History Center, San Diego Museum of Art (partial), and the Timken Museum of Art. By this weekend’s December Nights celebration, we also expect to have the network available at the San Diego Museum of Man and San Diego Automotive Museum. You can access it by going to your device settings and clicking on the network titled "Balboa Park."

BPOC’s network complements the wireless internet access available at outdoor information kiosks that are maintained by the Friends of Balboa Park. With the pervasive WiFi network that BPOC is building, Balboa Park’s cultural institutions will be able to engage with park visitors via smartphone apps and mobile websites; improve the visitor experience by offering instant, free Internet access to find out about attractions, events, and amenities; and host more robust and technologically-...

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