The world’s largest museum, the Smithsonian, is giving fans of history and art a new way to experience famous artifacts. Recently the museum launched an online 3D-archive called the Smithsonian X 3D which allows users to explore every angle of artifacts in a 3D environment.
Some of the exciting things on display include ancient fossils, the Wright Brother’s first plane, Amelia Earhart’s flight suit, life masks of Abraham Lincoln, even the remnants of a Supernova. In the Smithsonian’s own words their new endeavor indicates “that this new technology has the potential not only to support the Smithsonian mission, but to transform museum core functions.” For them it’s all about education and the more immersive, the better.
It’s also a way to archive the condition of works, allowing them to map the change of artifacts over time. It seems like the Digitization Program Office at the Smithsonian dreams of 3D mapping all of the museum’s works, but with around 137 million artworks and objects that task will be unbelievably daunting. For now they are prioritizing which collections to digitize. Regardless it is a bold step in the direction of bringing art and history directly to anyone who seeks it out.