by Charles Webb, 15 November 2013
Have you ever strolled the halls of the Smithsonian Institute and thought, “Hey, that sculpture would look great on my bookshelf?” But who can afford pricey reproductions or the skill and time to perpetrate a high stakes, “Ocean’s Eleven”-style heist?
The Smithsonian’s got you covered: they’ve just unveiled the Smithsonian x 3D project, which will allow you to take any of the 137 million objects scanned from the Institute’s collection and view/print them in 3D.
The project has created detailed, 3D representations of the objects from the collection — pieces of art, artifacts, items of clothing, and more — as part of the Digitization Program. This initiative is going on across all 19 museums and 9 research centers. Given the amount of computational effort that will have to go into the digitization, the Smithsonian estimates that it will take 260 years to get the complete collection scanned, so for the moment, they’re setting a goal of 10% of the collection in an effort to expose viewers to the large swath of the Smithsonian which isn’t often on view to the public.
So what would you print from the Smithsnonian’s collection? What would you want to see?