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SILVER OAKS COMMUNICATIONS BLOG

Silver Oaks Loves Museums!
July 10, 2017
Whales, sloths, and creepy crawlies! Whenever I'm in a museum, I like to pretend I’m Indiana Jones, Bill Nye the Science Guy (Bill! Bill! Bill!), or a wannabe Bob Ross (happy little trees!). Those guys were my heroes on TV. I always feel like I'm making them proud by learning all I can at the museums I visit. I can distinctly remember my first museum — The Natural History Museum at the University of Iowa. The complete whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling, a recreation of a Giant Ground Sloth and creepy crawly fossils from the Jurassic period frozen in time, left me curious and wanting more. Since that first encounter with the sloth, I’ve visited countless museums around the world. My love for museums motivated me to earn a bachelor's degree in history and a master’s degree in Museum Studies. I think it's so cool to work for a company that loves museums just much as I do. So to prove it, the staff at Silver Oaks shared their favorite museums with me and now I'm sharing them with you. Enjoy! [caption id="attachment_4981" align="aligncenter" width="258"] Seriously though.[/caption] Julia (that's me), Museum Services Project Manager: I’m going to rank my top three because I can’t pick just one. #1 The British Museum, London, England — Standing in front of the Rosetta Stone gave me the most goosebumps I’ve ever had. Ever. [caption id="attachment_4983" align="aligncenter" width="344"] British Museum, London, England[/caption] #2 The National WWI Museum, Kansas City, MO — The layout, media, and placement of artifacts in this museum was superior to any other museum I’ve visited. Drop everything you're doing and go there. Now. [caption id="attachment_4982" align="aligncenter" width="348"] National WWI Museum, Kansas City, MO[/caption] #3 The Choco Museum, Cusco, Peru — I went here before my hike to Machu Picchu last year and was blown away. For being a small, local museum, the staff was friendly, informative and let us taste test all kinds of Peruvian chocolate! [caption id="attachment_4984" align="aligncenter" width="205"] Choco Museum, Cusco, Peru[/caption]   Scott Kelty, Design: I'd have to say for me, since I don't get many opportunities to visit museums, it would have to be one that's on a lot of bucket lists -- the Louvre in Paris. I was very, very fortunate to get to go, and the entire building itself is a work of art. Seeing art in person is a lot different from seeing it in books or on posters or otherwise reproduced. For example: I discovered that the Mona Lisa is actually pretty small. And we saw something that not many people ever see, because it's not the most popular view of it -- the back of 'Aphrodite,' the Venus de Milo." [caption id="attachment_4985" align="aligncenter" width="192"] The back of Venus de Milo[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4986" align="aligncenter" width="341"] Ceiling in a hallway at the Louvre[/caption]   Tim Wren, Account Manager: The Denver Zoo - one word, 'BEER'. I also love Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois, for a couple of reasons.  Growing up here, Niabi has always been special. I used to go there with my grandpa when it was just a tiny little zoo with a handful of animals. Years later, we produced all the media for their new rain forest exhibit -- pretty cool. And the National Naval Aviation Museum is another one that is special to me. My dad was in the Navy and flew on the E2. This is a great museum if you love military history like I do." Anne Kirkpatrick, Writer: "The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida is my favorite so far. The permanent collection of Dali's oil paintings are breathtaking, and the building itself is a work of art! I don't usually gush about gift shops, but this one was super-cool and sophisticated at the same time. Of course, the Art Institute of Chicago is an all-time favorite of mine as well. The last time I was there, we saw amazing Greek and Roman artifacts. And on my latest vacation, we enjoyed the sculpture garden outside of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Walking around the gardens was a great way to spend the evening-- the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture is a must see. The cherry stem actually sprays water in the summertime." [caption id="attachment_4993" align="aligncenter" width="359"] The Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the centerpiece of the 11-acre park.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_4992" align="aligncenter" width="178"] The helical staircase inside the Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_4994" align="aligncenter" width="374"] Outside view of the Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL. This large, free-form geodesic glass bubble known as the “enigma" is made up of 1,062 triangular pieces of glass.[/caption]   Grace Kocinski, Museum Services Senior Project Manager: "It's funny, cool and sad, all at the same time...because I work in the museum industry my view of museums is very different than the average museum goer. I have trouble enjoying the content for the purity of the content, but rather look at how exhibits are built, the use of technology and just simply the overall 'coolness factor.' So with all that said, I have to say that the City Museum in St. Louis is now my new 'favorite' museum simply because it defies everything I've ever defined a museum to be. As noted on their website 'the museum is an eclectic mixture of childrens' playground, fun house, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects.' Normally at museums, education through history and artifacts takes precedence, and everything is presented in a very defined, linear manner; while fun, imagination and exploration are secondary." "It was so much fun to 'be a kid'... At the City Museum everything is completely organic and undefined - there isn't even a map or directional signage. I must confess, at first this was a bit disconcerting. However, once I transitioned to embracing it, and seized the opportunity to explore, it was so much fun to just 'be a kid' and discover what hidden treasure was down the next hole, at the bottom of a slide or at the end of a tunnel. It was a weird concept to realize how much can be learned by just having the freedom to see what it's like to explore the root cavities under a tree, climb into the mouth of a whale, or feel what it's like to swirl around on a "topsy-turvy" seat. AND the 10-story slide is a MUST..... sometimes it's just good to have the opportunity for a good, long laugh! My only wish is that the City Museum was closer to me. It would be the perfect place to go after a long, stressful day or when a fresh dose of creativity is needed." Silver Oaks loves museums of all kinds As you can see, the staff at Silver Oaks loves museums of all kinds. We know that they can create powerful life-long memories. Our hope is that the creative media produced by our team helps museums to provide equally powerful life-long memories for their visitors.
Welcome to Silver Oaks!
July 6, 2017
Silver Oaks welcomes two new employees! Julia Evans, Project Manager, Museum Services Originally from: Carroll, Iowa. Education: BA in History from Wartburg College and a Masters in Museum Studies from WIU. I’m inspired by: Quirky creativity. Favorite place traveled so far: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. Favorite drink? Caramel skim latte at Red Band in Davenport. Favorite book: Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel. Museum that blew my mind: The British Museum in London. “Suddenly I found myself standing in front of the Rosetta Stone. It’s amazing to see famous artifacts in real life!” When I’m not at Silver Oaks, I’m….at the Analog Arcade Bar in downtown Davenport, bike riding or Netflixing -- latest binge: The Keepers. Art, history or science museums? Rank in order of your favorites. History, science, art. Museum bucket list: The Louvre, The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and various Civil War battle sites. Lives with: Her cat, Lucy, and her boyfriend, Jason, a historian.   Gillian Renk, PreMedia Hometown: Davenport, Iowa Education: BA in Fine Arts/Painting from the University of Northern Iowa Favorite art forms: I’m into illustration and comic book art, and video game concept art. Pets: my cat, Gilgamesh. Favorite movies: Netflix crime documentaries, Marvel and Disney movies, the Oceans 11 trilogy and Pride and Prejudice. In my spare time, I: Work on my webcomic, Aether: Earth and Sun, make costumes, and do custom illustrations by commission. Foodie? Yes. My husband, Will, and I YouTube different recipes to try. He’s a great cook! We’re also interested in learning about different wines and are fans of a good whiskey bar. Board games or video games? Both. Dungeons and Dragons for the board game, and at the moment, The Elder Scrolls III – Morrowind, is my favorite video game. What are your duties at Silver Oaks? I do photo retouching, line art, and uploads to client databases. How do you like working at Silver Oaks? Silver Oaks is…great! Everyone here is super rad. And it’s kind of surreal, since I spent a lot of time here when I was growing up (my mom was a writer and video director!)
Inspiration is Everywhere!
June 30, 2017
As a word nerd, one of the sites I frequent for inspiration is Merriam-Webster.com.  Yep, they’re the dictionary people. But their website is not exactly like thumbing through a dusty old volume for the word perspicuous. They have features like the Word of the Day, various vocab games and spelling quizzes, plus interesting musings on trending words like “scurrilous.” I go there to look up spellings, and sometimes I just need a little creative inspiration! This made me wonder where my fellow Silver Oaksians go to be inspired… Mark Weitzel, Hardware Engineer: “I love ebay. It’s a great place to find model and part numbers.” Julia Evans, Project Manager, Museum Services: “Buzzfeed. I love all their 'feel good' lists and ways to organize stuff. And it’s inspirational to know which Disney Princess I am based on my favorite candy bar. Just sayin'.” Clint Thomas, Designer: “Dribbble is a cool community site for designers. And Pinterest gives me logo and web design inspiration. I also flip through actual magazines for ideas as well.” Tracey Sands, Project Manager, Marketing: “Every day I read articles from The Medium, which is an online platform for leaders, artists, thinkers, entrepreneurs and every day citizens to share a story, idea or perspective. I also enjoy meeting with like-minded people to discuss marketing, influencers, brands, current community and international events. In summary, I'd say my inspiration comes from reading, writing, and talking with other people from all walks of life.” Dylan Atwater, IT Specialist: “I like Reddit for multiple opinions on different issues. I also go to tomshardware.com for anything IT related.” Joe Zerull, Videographer: “I go to IMDB a lot to watch new movie trailers – if I like them, I use the site to find out more about the directors and the actors. Also, the video crew likes to invite co-workers to movies that we find interesting and cool. Last time it was Alien: Covenant. This time it will be Baby Driver.” Grace Burt, Project Manager, Museum Services: “Pinterest – and news and reviews (via e-blast and Facebook) by other creative producers in the industry.”  
Snapchat, Snap Map: Connecting or Stalking?
June 29, 2017
We’ve all heard about the “friendly ghost” of cinema, Casper. But are you familiar with the “friendly ghost” of social media? If not, let us introduce you to Snapchat. Snapchat is the little, yellow app with the white ghost that allows you to quite literally, “snap chat”. The entire social medium is about conversing using snaps of images. You can send these images to anyone you’re following. This could be friends, family, co-workers, B2B, B2C, and now….the world. You heard that right! Snapchat has just incorporated a new element into the application called “Snap Map”. For a better understanding of what it is, let’s hear it from the creators themselves... With the Snap Map, you can view Snaps of sporting events, celebrations, breaking news, and more from all across the world. If you and a friend follow one another, you can share your locations with each other so you can see where they are and what’s going on around them! Plus, meeting up can be a cinch. Only the people you choose can see your location — so if you’re friends with your boss, you can still keep your location on the down low during a sick day. We can all agree that the above statement pretty much sells us on the Snap Map, right? Unfortunately, that’s Snapchat’s job – to sell us on their product, while glossing over some of the negative effects it may have -- like allowing strangers to follow and have exact locations on other users. So how does it really work? And is it connecting or stalking? Below is an image of what your Snap Map will look like once you initially open the feature. It shows your friends who have opted-in to sharing their location, and “hot spots” (blue glowing areas) for snap stories. At this point, it is the user’s turn to take control and choose their adventure. Stay in your neighborhood, zoom out and head East across the Atlantic Ocean toward Europe and Africa, check out the stories in a city you’ve always wanted to visit - it’s your adventure! So there’s no doubt that technology and social whizzes are impressed with this new feature. Sure, it’s cool that you can literally Snap Map the world, but you can also see a person’s exact location. If you zoom in to a specific person, you can see the street they’re on and the building they’re in. You can even see them in motion as they are changing locations! With such changes and advances, comes the debate on whether this will positively or negatively influence its users. Does this connect users or does it cross the line of privacy? At Silver Oaks, we have views across the spectrum… “As someone that loves to travel and see the world, it’s pretty amazing that I’m able to experience what is going on first hand from someone that’s actually living in a different country. But to think that it can show the exact location of someone is a little creepy, to say the least. This is an amazing feature until someone chooses to abuse it.” -- Tracey “Users have the choice to opt-in to the maps, they are choosing to agree with the concept of it. If someone ever feels unsafe or discouraged, they can always go into “ghost mode” or opt-out. I think the positives of this feature outweigh the negatives.” --Dylan “Snapchat is an app that the younger generation uses, so as long as parents and other peers educate children/young adults to the risks, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. I think this feature is an amazing way to see the way the world works, in seconds. I’m interested to see how Facebook and Instagram react to this feature and how they incorporate it into their platform.” -- Anne What’s your opinion on Snap Map? Will you become a fan or a foe?  
Technology in Museums = Magic
June 29, 2017
I’ve seen some truly disastrous uses of technology in museums — outdated intro videos clearly made in the late 80’s, push-buttons that don’t work, poorly timed motion-sensor-activated audio, and ‘out of service’ interactives. But a few years ago I saw a use of technology that absolutely blew me away. Denver Museum of Nature and Science [caption id="attachment_4939" align="aligncenter" width="504"] My mom and I at the Power of Poison exhibit.[/caption] Back in 2015, I visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science where they were hosting a traveling exhibition, The Power of Poison. The exhibition took me on an thrilling and whimsical adventure as I learned about the role of poison in nature, human health, history, literature, and myth. The exhibit had real poison frogs, larger-than-life dioramas, and interactives that all ages could enjoy. But the Enchanted Spell Book was by far the highlight of the exhibition and was one of the most well-done uses of technology in a museum I’ve ever seen. “In nature, countless plants and animals rely on poison to survive. Poisons also have a powerful grip on the human imagination — poisoned drinks, clothes and foods appear in stories throughout the centuries. And increasingly we are learning how poisons can be powerful stories of healing.” [caption id="attachment_4940" align="aligncenter" width="470"] Watch out. This book is magical![/caption] As I approached the ancient-looking enormous book, it suddenly “came to life” — animated plants wiggled as I touched them on the page, animals hopped, animated videos began, and words appeared and disappeared as I hovered my hand over them. It. Was. Magical. As I turned the giant page (its texture reminded me of old parchment), a new set of interactive animations  just as thrilling as the last appeared. I could have played with that book for hours. And I would have, if there wasn’t a line forming behind me. Did you know? This was by far the most impressive use of technology I’ve seen in a museum so far. Not only was it fun and magical-feeling, I actually learned something! Did you know that wolfsbane isn't just a potion ingredient in Harry Potter? It's a real plant commonly called Monkshood and if eaten, it can cause a fatal heart attack! Silver Oaks Loves Technology AND Museums! At Silver Oaks, it’s my job to recognize great uses of technology in museums. We’re constantly trying to implement new, creative and engaging media like this. Well-made interactives can transport visitors through time and space — real and fantasy. The fact that I get to help people have experiences like that is incredibly rewarding. For a glimpse at the Enchanted Spell Book, here’s a digital version. Enjoy!
Silver Oaks Sponsors the QC Marathon
June 28, 2017
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO! Summer is here, and so is the road race season. But instead of lacing up our shoes, we’re creating and managing an advertising campaign for the QC Marathon! This is our third year partnering with the event, but we believe this year will be bigger and better. Why? Because it’s the 20th anniversary! With bigger and better, comes more strategic planning and Silver Oaks has that covered! The QC Marathon has a flat and fast course that features one of the finest, most scenic river views in the country. It covers 5 races, 4 cities, 3 bridges, 2 states, and 1 island, all along the mighty Mississippi River. With a captivating description like that, it’s an easy sell! What isn’t quite as easy is deciding how to place your marketing budget in the right places to reach the right people. This year the race is capping the number of participants at 6,000; so it’s important for the organization to spread the word as far and as fast as possible. That’s where Silver Oaks steps in! In years past, the QC Marathon advertised using traditional media -- print, tv, radio, and billboards. But as we all know, times have changed, and we're changing with them. This year we are using digital tactics to advertise this popular event! These tactics will include: Facebook ads and boosts, geo-fencing, e-blasts and digital banner ads. Not only do these tactics work well with a small budget, but they also allow you to choose your audience based on demographics, location, interests, and more! Another perk of strategically placing digital ads is that once you find the right audience, they’re just a click away from your website. With just a simple click, you can turn your target audience into a customer. A customer increases your ROI (return of investment)! And let’s be honest, besides crossing the finish line, that’s the end goal right?! We’re ready. Are you?! To register for the Midwest's favorite road race, please visit qcmarathon.org!

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