3D Scanning and Museums Go Hand in Hand

3d-scanning-in-museumsMuseums pride themselves on documenting and organizing artwork and artifacts. However, much of this work is done by hand and by snapping photographs. Recently, 3D scanning technology has been utilized to create three-dimensional models of objects in various collections to create permanent copies of their every little detail. This will be fantastic for historians, scientists, archeologists, and others looking to study these artifacts without having to actually go to the museum and view the items in person.

But there’s more to it than that. There’s even speculation that 3D scanning could change how museums work for the long haul. They could effectively scan and reproduce models of some of their most famous exhibits, sell them, and make an income. They’d no longer have to rely on philanthropists to sustain themselves.

This technology is being used currently at the Smithsonian. The Washington, D.C. museum is creating three-dimensional models of areas within the museum as well as objects currently on display. The institute’s 3D Lab recently worked with the curators to scan the entire Dinosaur Hall and many fossils contained within it. This will be used following a 2014 renovation to the Hall so as to restore the layout and display configuration to its exact previous design.

This effort to use 3D scanning on everything also will make it easier for the museum to redesign the layout of exhibits later on without having to move things. The fewer times artifacts need to be moved, the safer they will be and less likely it is damage will occur.

The Lab’s 3D specialists, Vince Rossi and Adam Metallo are called the “Laser Cowboys” and want to create models of everything in the collections at the Smithsonian. This would total somewhere around 137 million items. Just 2{ed34752d3d9237811f2899a265685e36705e4e86722207f201c96dd1cfc4a167} of these items are ever on display at once, so this would be a great improvement in that tourists and people from all over the world would be able to view items normally contained within the archives at any time.

As 3D scanning becomes more readily available and less associated with wealth, you can expect more and more projects like this to crop up. The software and equipment get more user-friendly by the day. It wouldn’t be surprising if every museum eventually adopts this technology. It has implications for every industry and it will be interesting to see how this tech moves forward from here.


Reference: https://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/aroundthemall/2013/04/a-night-at-the-museum-with-the-smithsonians-laser-cowboys/