Every week or two we see news of another museum digitizing its collection and making it accessible online. The Smithsonian is no exception, and efforts are under way across our campus to scan artifacts, works of art, documents, and films and put them on our websites. These projects take months if not years to complete, but it is our high priority to open the museums to visitors beyond our walls, and digitization is a key part of our strategy.
Karen Lemmey, American Art's sculpture curator is organizing an installation that will include Hiram Power's Greek Slave, one of the most popular sculptures of the 19th century. As part of her preparation, she is working with Smithsonian X 3D, part of the Institution's Digitization program, to create a 3D model of the Greek Slave. Karen fills us in on the process.
Smithsonian X 3D brings museum collections to homes and classrooms by applying cutting-edge 3D technology to one-of-a-kind objects such as the 1903 Wright Flyer, Lincoln’s Life Masks, a 1500 year old Buddha sculpture, a prehistoric fossilized whale, or a Super Nova. The 3D models are presented online at 3D.SI.EDU through a plug-in free explorer based on WebGL, which was created for the Smithsonian by the 3D design firm Autodesk.
The first presidential portraits created from 3-D scan data are now on display in the Smithsonian Castle. The portraits of President Barack Obama were created based on data collected by a Smithsonian-led team of 3-D digital imaging specialists and include a digital and 3-D printed bust and life mask. A new video released today by the White House (and shown below) details the behind-the-scenes process of scanning, creating and printing the historic portraits.
Robert Costello, the National Outreach Program Manager at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), has been busy time-traveling a 19th-century, 150-pound Mississippi catfish back to life on his digital tablet.
At the Smithsonian’s biennial Digitization Fair, we strive to bring together the entire digitization community from our 19 museums and 9 research centers to share best practices, great ideas and lofty visions. This year, for the first time, we also invited a range of presenters from left field, so to speak.
Follow Us on Our 40-day Odyssey to Digitize over 40,000 Bumble Bees from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History's Entomology Dept's Bombus Collection!
When I first started working for the Digitization Program Office eons ago in the fall of 2009, the Smithsonian had just published its first Digitization Strategic Plan. Several working groups from across the Smithsonian were tasked with hashing out various aspects of the plan, such as setting priorities for digitization, standards, and life cycle management for digital assets.