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Balboa Park Online Collaborative Blog

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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Earlier this month, several of us from BPOC attended the Museum Computer Network conference and THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) day in Atlanta. The events brought together about 350 museum professionals to discuss practical and theoretical issues related to museums’ use of new technologies.

The sessions highlighted some of the more innovative and forward-thinking museum projects happening across the country. After my brain stopped spinning with ideas related to digital accessibility, mobile tour development, data sharing, and web analytics, I spent some time digesting my takeaways and the related quotes that have stayed with me.

"If we're not going in this direction, what direction are we going?" – Matt Morgan, General Manager of the Website, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Matt was speaking about the Met’s decision to publish collection images online—many of them high res with zooming functionality. Quite often, users can get a better look at the objects through the website than they can during a visit to the museum galleries. (Try zooming in on Renoir’s “By the Seashore” or this...

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Media Contact: Maren Dougherty, Balboa Park Online Collaborative

San Diego, CA –The Samuel H. Kress Foundation has awarded a $145,000 grant to the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) and the Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC) for ConservationReel, a project to gather and present video on art conservation and collections care in an online resource intended for museum and conservation professionals, students, and interested members of the general public.

No such centralized resource of this type currently exists, and the project is particularly relevant given the challenges faced by today’s museums of providing cost-effective training opportunities and funding staff travel to conferences and workshops.

ConservationReel’s content will include video on collections care practices such as framing, packing, and storage; behind-the-scenes videos of conservators at work; videos from conservation conferences along with supporting materials such as slide decks and transcripts; and videos on related topics from international conservation organizations and museum conservation and scientific research departments. These resources are currently difficult or impossible for users to find online.

The resource will be modeled on the groundbreaking...

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