Johns Hopkins University Onsite Seminar


Balboa Park provides a unique landscape to students for the two-week, intensive seminar through Johns Hopkins University. It affords students the opportunity to network, collaborate and share ideas with museum professionals along with opportunities to observe and interact with museum visitors. Our program works closely with the Museum Studies Program to develop curriculum that is timely and informative to students pursuing a career in museums. You will have the chance to use what you have learned in your prior courses, develop networks with fellow students, and explore the latest in museum practice, including exhibition design and development, public programming, collections management, conservation, and uses of technology in the museums.

During your two week seminar expect to be focused on directed activities, readings, exploring, and asking questions. The Learning Institute is fortunate to be in the heart of Balboa Park – the home to many museums and organizations including fine art and craftsmen museums, science and anthropology museums, along with music and cultural centers, performing arts, memorial centers, and the world famous San Diego Zoo. While we expect our students to work toward a collective goal, or project, we also hope to inspire creativity, professional development and thought-provoking questions about museum practice and standards.

View the past seminars and learn more about students projects below.

2015 JHU Onsite Seminar: “Making Museums Meaningful”

January 5 – January 16, 2015
Course Description: The San Diego seminar invites participants to explore and create meaning in Balboa Park’s many museums. Participants will be immersed in museum life with visits to a diverse array of museums, behind-the-scenes tours, and talks with museum professionals. Against this backdrop, we will engage in active and participatory learning processes—thinking, talking, observing, making, and doing. We will use strategic planning practices to develop a mission for the seminar, strategic goals, and a pact for collaboration. Teams will collaborate to create and evaluate theme-based trails through the museums and gardens of Balboa Park. They will share the fruits of their labor with Balboa Park community members, inspiring them with fresh perspectives. With a strong focus on visitor experience and meaning-making, this seminar be relevant to students pursuing careers in education, exhibition, design, evaluation, collections, development, and administration.

Learn more about the student projects.

2014 JHU Onsite Seminar: “Collaboration and the Balboa Park Experience”

January 5 – January 17, 2014
Course Description: San Diego’s Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre site united by more than 80 diverse groups, including art, science, and history museums and cultural organizations that create a dynamic learning laboratory for museum studies. Students will be immersed in a variety of museums, cultural centers and gardens that comprise this unique urban resource. The onsite seminar will address the theme “Collaboration and the Balboa Park Experience.” The curriculum is designed to offer students unparalleled access and experience working within a dynamic, diverse and collaborative framework created by the 27 organizations that comprise the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership. Together, we will mine current museum trends around issues of collaboration, innovation, technology, sustainability and the guest experience.

Students will engage in “real-world” scenarios participating in the Learning Institute’s Park-Wide Customer Service Collaborative, a unique project that brings together 17 organizations and 33 staff members from within the Park. Students will work closely with Park museums to plan, develop and evaluate strategies for new approaches to visitor experiences. The final project for the San Diego seminar will explore how to create a more cohesive “Balboa Park Experience” for visitors to the Park.

2013 JHU Onsite Seminar: “Balboa Park Experience” for Visitors

January 7 – January 18, 2013
Course Description: The San Diego onsite seminar will address the theme “Collaboration and the Balboa Park Experience.” The curriculum is designed to offer students experience working with a varied sample of museums and other types of cultural institutions in one of the country’s top urban cultural parks. The final project for the San Diego seminar will explore how to create a more cohesive “Balboa Park Experience” for visitors to the Park. Students will work closely with Park museums to plan, develop and evaluate strategies for new approaches to Parkwide visitor orientation and way-finding, drawing upon sources such as Dr. John Falk’s Visitor Identities and the use of new technologies.