Samuel H. Kress Foundation awards grant to the Balboa Park Online Collaborative and Balboa Art Conservation Center for Conservation Reel

2011: Conservation Reel Project Launches

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’scontent 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 ArtBabble site developed and launched by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2009. ArtBabble gathers video contributed by museums and arts organizations in a free online resource that promotes an educational interactive experience for art enthusiasts, students, and professionals. The successes of ArtBabble and the Smarthistory project—which relies on video storytelling to communicate the history of Western art—have demonstrated the value of video as a medium for teaching and learning in the museum community.

ConservationReel will build on the achievements of those projects to develop a resource that will focus on the specific needs of museum and conservation professionals. Janet Ruggles, BACC’s Executive Director and Chief Conservator of Paper, will serve as the project’s content lead.

“Video programming through the Babble platform is an important means of delivery to allow museum staff ready access to training,” said Ruggles, an experienced conservator who has worked at BACC since 1982. “Our goal is to provide a continuum of training experiences for collections-holding institutions—particularly the many with serious time and budget constraints.”

BPOC’s Director Rich Cherry will serve as technical lead, working closely with the development team at the IMA Labs at the Indianapolis Museum of Art to customize and implement the Babble platform software.

“This award is important both for the project's value to the conservation and museum communities, but also to the public at large who are generally very interested in the conservation and transformation of works of art,” said John Wilson, Executive Director of the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego. “It is also significant as recognition by a major foundation that BPOC is the right partner for using cutting edge of technology to address cultural organizations' mission related tasks. We at the Timken are very fortunate to have BPOC as part of our cultural community and thankful for the support of the Kress Foundation and the Legler Benbough Foundation for supporting this exciting endeavor.”