Press Release

San Diego Air & Space Museum Wins International Award for Innovation

Museum at Your Fingertips project allows students and teachers to visit the Museum from the comfort of their classrooms

The museum launched the BeamPro program to broaden access for a previously underserved segment of the population

San Diego, CA — More than 550 leaders from museums, libraries, archives and galleries around the world gathered at the 2017 Museums and the Web (MW) Conference in Cleveland, Ohio on Friday, April 21, to recognize the year’s best innovations in the cultural sector at the annual GLAMi Awards. The San Diego Air & Space Museum, in partnership with the Balboa Park Online Collaborative, was awarded the Education Award Category for its project Museum At Your Fingertips: Telepresence Tours For Schools. Winners were selected by an international committee of judges, chaired by Steven Beasley, Director of Digital Media at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, and Jane Alexander, Chief Information Officer at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

For the award-winning Museum at Your Fingertips project, the San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM) worked in partnership with the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) to bring the Museum experience to students and learners who were otherwise unable to visit and enjoy the Museum. Using the Suitable Technologies BeamPro™ (an interactive remote presence robot device much like a rolling teleconference screen), teachers and students were able to control a BeamPro directly from their classrooms and access additional photo, sound and video media by logging into a website developed by BPOC in the fall of 2015. A SDASM educator “tour guide” accompanied the device during these sessions, allowing personal interaction with students in their home classrooms. The guide also interacted with Museum visitors as the device traveled throughout the Museum. Video and audio clips selected by the tour guide are then displayed in the classroom on inset screens via the BPOC software.

The museum launched the BeamPro program to broaden access for a previously underserved segment of the population, such as economically challenged schools that cannot afford transportation, people with disabilities, and those far away from local museums to access. Read more about this innovative blend of culture and technology at

Since the dawn of the Internet age, galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (referred to as GLAMi institutions) have been pushing the envelope on what technology can do to preserve, display, and showcase cultural treasures. MW’s annual conferences have been a platform for showcasing and disseminating this important work since 1997. Formerly the “Best of the Web” Awards, the GLAMies were re-launched at MW’s 20th conference in LA last year to showcase the best work the cultural sector has done to engage, inform and excite people both on the Web and across myriad emerging and ever-changing platforms. Whether it’s social media, virtual reality, augmented reality, audio and video tours, apps, or anything in between, the GLAMi Awards honor the projects and people that allow us to visit far-away places, explore ancient artifacts, or connect with the natural world, using amazing, often cutting-edge technologies and practices.

MW’s 21st conference wrapped up on Saturday, April 22 having welcomed attendees from more than 33 countries and 300+ worldwide galleries, libraries, archives and museums. The annual North American gathering of the best and the brightest in the cultural and tech sectors is an opportunity for museum professionals, product developers, researchers and students to talk innovation as it relates to the stewards of the world’s history and heritage. Next year’s conference and GLAMi awards will be hosted in Vancouver April 18-21, 2018.

This year’s GLAMi Award winners include the following. Complete descriptions of the winning projects and nominees are listed on the MW17 site.

Education Category Winner: Museum At Your Fingertips: Telepresence Tours For Schools San Diego Air & Space Museum and the Balboa Park Online Collaborative, USA.

Exhibition and Collection Extension Category Winner: Website from the National Museums of Scotland, UK

Exhibition Media or Experience Category Winners: The Natural History Museum of Utah’s Trait Tree, USA; VOLUME: Making Music in Aotearoa from Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand

In the Exhibition Media or Experience Category Honorable Mention: Weaving A Better Future Virtual Reality App from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), Canada

Groundbreaking Category Winner: ArtLens Studio, Cleveland Museum of Art, USA

Marketing and Promotion Category Winner: #ElectionCollection Campaign from the National Archives, USA; Digital Content Strategy by the Royal Academy of Arts (RA), UK

Museum-Wide Guide or Program Category Winner: SFMOMA App, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA

About MW (Museums and the Web)

The MW conferences convene annually in North America and Asia. Our meetings and proceedings feature advanced research and exemplary applications of digital practice for cultural, natural and scientific heritage. Formed by leading professionals from around the world, our community has been meeting since 1997, and recognizing the best in cultural heritage innovation through the GLAMi (formerly Best of the Web) awards annually. More than 1200 papers from the past 20 years of MW conferences are freely accessible online and offer an unparalleled resource for museum workers, technologists, students and researchers that grows


About the San Diego Air & Space Museum

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California’s official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Now showing: Be the Astronaut, a fun, interactive experience where you fly and spaceship, drive a rover and land on the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and an asteroid. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with admissions until 4:30 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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