2015 Johns Hopkins University Student Projects

Kristen MihalkoBalboa Park Cultural Partnership, Learning Institute

Trails Through Balboa Park
presented by the Johns Hopkins University OnSite San Diego Seminar Students

From January 5th through January 16th, Nan Renner led the Johns Hopkins University Museum Studies graduate students on an inspiring trip through Balboa Park. Along with her creative, design-thinking workshops, students had a chance to learn from Balboa Park experts and executive directors and explore the museums from a visitor’s perspective using the Explorer Pass. This exploratory learning environment created a space of endless possibilities. With Nan’s guidance, six teams formed, exchanged ideas, and quickly learned to work together in a matter of two weeks. Their hard work and dedication to producing products that would inspire Balboa Park staff is featured below. We hope that you find inspiration in their work. Please contact the Learning Institute with any inquires regarding the projects below at learning[at]bpcp[dot]org. Please find our list of speakers below who shared their expertise and help the students create their projects.

Citizen Curator
Nicholas Griffith and Ashley Mead

Citizen Curator 03

Our Big Idea.

The only constant within Balboa Park is change.  Content changes from month to month, institutional infrastructure from year to year, and structures from decade to decade.  As attractive as the notion of a path is, meandering from museum to museum, it is not adaptable to this change.  We therefore believe the notion of a themed trail within Balboa Park lacks longevity.  Instead, we propose a radical personalization of content that opens up authority to visitors.

What is Open Authority?

Within the context of a museum, open authority doesn’t mean out right handing over curatorial authority, so much as sharing it.  It’s not about anarchy; so much as using what authority we do have to facilitate a connection between visitors and content.  The good news is, we know this connection already exists within Balboa Park.  The bad news is, its taking place almost entirely outside each museum’s doors.

Click here to read the PDF version of the project brief

Click here to view the presentation


SENSEations! Go Where Your Senses Take You
Joann Asakawa, Emily Baker, Melanie Deer, Jessica Harvey, and Lindsay Mancuso

Sensations 01

Mission Statement: To inspire families to experience Balboa Park in new and immersive ways that engage five senses.


  • To facilitate new understandings and connections within the diverse range of objects and spaces within Balboa Park.
  • Encourage visitors to develop a new appreciation and awareness of their senses.
  • Provide additional educational and entertainment value to the Explorer Pass.

Target Audience: The target audience for SENSEations! are families with children, 8 years or younger, seeking interactive opportunities in Balboa Park institutions and outdoor spaces. The rationale behind focusing on this audience group is based on the information that states that approximately 80% of all Explorer Passes purchased are Family Explorer Passes (N. Renner, personal communication, January 14, 2015).

Project Description: Using the SENSEations! booklet, visitors can create a tailored multisensory trail through Balboa Park museums and outdoor spaces. The booklet will be available at any one of the participating museums as well as the Balboa Park Visitors Center. The activities in the booklet are inspired by Joseph Cornell’s (1989) work with Flow Learning and Perry’s (1992) six components for a motivating museum experience: curiosity, confidence, challenge, control, play and communication.

Click here to read the PDF version of the project brief

Click here to view the presentation


The Balboa Park Time Machine
Lauren Wenger, Iris Close, Eleanor Langham, and Charlotte Ring

Timemachine 01 The Balboa Park Time Machine is a mobile application for smartphones and tablets that guides users on a trail through Balboa Park. Through the app, visitors will be able to explore Balboa Park’s objects and places by connecting these treasures through specific moments in time. Our audience focus is adults with smart devices who are interested in history. This trail also has the potential to appeal to children when guided by a parent or other adult chaperone.

Upon opening the mobile app, visitors will see a screen featuring a “time machine” with a clock face style dial encircled by several time periods. Users will be prompted to choose a time period. The user will then see a short historical summary of the chosen time period in local and world history, a list of artifacts and locations (“treasures”) relating to the period within Balboa Park, and a map showing the user’s location and location of the treasures throughout the park. As they visit each treasure, users will be offered additional interpretive content, and the opportunity to “collect” the treasure into their personal treasure collection by marking it as “seen”. The maps will also include bonus locations along the route that focus on Balboa Park’s history and secrets. Visitors also will have an option to share their personal connections and history through outside resources such as museum websites and social media.

Click here to read the PDF version of the project brief

Click here to view the presentation


Objects on Stage
Eric Morse, Nora Pinell-Hernandez, and Hannah Weinberg-Wolf

What: Objects on Stage is a
proposed collaboration between the Old Globe and Balboa Park Cultural Park (BPCP) museums.

Core Audience: Local adults with preexisting connections to Balboa Park. This collaboration creates a cross- marketing opportunity. Through this program, the Old Globe will be able to market its season to members of the museums and the museums will market their institutions to Old Globe season subscribers and

The program could be marketed to high-level donors at these institutions. This program will also appeal to Explorer Pass holders, and theater and performing arts enthusiasts.

Trail Details: The next Old Globe production is The Twenty- Seventh Man, which is set in the Soviet Union and has artistic restraint as a theme.

Click here to read the PDF version of the project brief

Click here to view the presentation


Balboa Badges
Magdalyne Christakis, Megan Wozniack, Carie Paine

The Balboa Badges Program is an idea of trails through Balboa Park. Think of Balboa Badges as an umbrella with multiple trails underneath it, with one such trail being called Shifting Gears, Moving Forward. This trail would take visitors to the Air and Space Museum, the Automotive Museum and the Model Railroad Museum and result in the acquisition of the three Boy Scout transportation badges. The possibilities for trails within the Balboa Badges Trail however are endless. From a collections trail that takes you to any of the museums, to a reptile and amphibian badge that the Nat can have, there are over 150 badges for the Boy Scouts alone to achieve. Balboa Badges was conceived as a program for Boy Scouts but that is not what it is intended to be necessarily. With some minor tweaks to the programs, it has the ability to cater to Girl Scouts, Campfire Kids, and unaffiliated children as well. The opportunities are endless not only in the number of badges but the audiences being targeted and served. We intended the trails be geared towards 11-17 year olds. This is the primary age group for Boy Scouts. However the material can be adapted for younger children as well. But serving a direct audience guarantees having an audience. Also, if a small program fee is included, the program has the possibility to pay for itself and generate a small profit.

Click here to view the presentation


Oh, Snap!
Juli Dowell, Elizabeth McCoy, Jessica McPheters, and Thomas Williams

Oh Snap 01 Oh Snap 02

Click here to read the PDF version of the project brief

Click here to view the presentation

A special thank you to our speakers and host organizations:
Peter Comiskey, Balboa Park Cultural Partnership
Kim Duclo, City of San Diego, Park & Recreation
Gwen Gómez, San Diego Museum of Art
Michael (Mick) Hager, San Diego Natural History Museum
Jessica Hanson York, MingeiInternational Museum
Nik Honeysett, Balboa Park Online Collaborative
Luanne Kanazawa, Japanese Friendship Garden
Erica Kelly, San Diego Natural History Museum
Deborah Klochko, Museum of Photographic Arts
Karen Lacy, Collections Manager, San Diego Museum of Man
Kevin Linde, Museum of Photographic Arts
Stephanie Malyn, San Diego Museum of Man
Crystal Mercado, Old Globe Theatre
Joaquin Ortiz, Museum of Photographic Arts
Katrina Pescador, San Diego Air & Space Museum
Beth Redmond-Jones, San Diego Natural History Museum
Aimee Reed, Balboa Park Online Collaborative
Alan Renga, San Diego Air & Space Museum
Janet Ruggles, Alexis, Morgan, Fiona, Stephanie, Balboa Art Conservation Center
Brittany Saake, San Diego Museum of Art
Patti Saraniero, Moxie Research
Sheri Sherman, San Diego Zoo
Paul Siboroski, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Michael Wall, San Diego Natural History Museum
Roberta Wells-Famula, Old Globe Theatre
Katherine Yee, San Diego Museum of Man

Balboa Park Central
Old Globe Theatre
San Diego Air & Space Museum
San Diego Hall of Champions
San Diego Museum of Man
San Diego Natural History Museum