Smithsonian Launches 3D Laser Scanning Services Program to Digitize Artifacts
Online Viewing From Anywhere in the World
The Smithsonian has a massive historical artifacts collection; only 1% of its 150 million pieces are showcased during exhibitions. As a result, the museum has launched a digitalization program to help digitize 3D scanned historical artifacts and publish them for future generations. Since 2009, the program has relied on 3D laser scanning services to capture historical artifacts in three dimensions, allowing online viewing from anywhere in the world.
And with the collection divided into numerous storage facilities, a zoo, nine research centers, and 21 museums, it has become pretty challenging for the museum to maintain these artifacts in the best condition.
But with DPO, the museum can digitalize these collections using 3D scanning services and explore new ways to make the art accessible from anywhere worldwide. So far, DPO has helped digitalize over five million objects, with several other projects currently underway.
Using 3D Laser Scanning Services
Photogrammetry is one of the tools the DPO’s chief mission uses to scan its objects. With this technology, the museum can take hundreds or even thousands of digital images from different angles and publish them for online viewing.
Photos of the artifacts are uploaded onto the software and used to create a cloud that allows viewing the artifact in three dimensions. For example, photogrammetry software can create an exact 3D model of a piece of art that can be downloaded and 3D printed with 3D laser scanning services. Researchers are also using this technology to restore broken and crushed artifacts virtually to preserve them for future viewing.
The new DPO program goes beyond looking at a scan from any angle by allowing viewers to fully immerse in the artifact, experience what it used to be, and understand its story. Experts argue that virtualization will be the future of museums.
Museums are about storytelling, and archeologists and researchers are using every new technology at their disposal to ensure these stories are preserved for generations to come. With the DPO program, people can download models and print them in the comfort of their homes.
As a result, people will experience historical events without the risk of bringing wear and tear to a fragile piece of art. Moreover, historical events preserved virtually can be far more impactful than pictures and text recorded in a history book. So, the digitalization of museums with a 3D laser scan is the way to go in this post-modern era.