The UCL’s Petrie Museum is developing an innovative 3D imaging programme that will transform museum practice and enrich visitor experiences.
UCL's Museums and Public Engagement Department includes three public museums that endeavour to use their spaces as test-beds for research and innovation. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology has worked with the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering to explore different ways in which 3D imaging technologies used in the medical, manufacturing and architectural fields can be adapted for use in the heritage sector. In partnership with the Arius3D Inc., commercial manufacturer of 3D laser scanning technology, UCL has produced many of the high-quality, colour 3D digital replicas of artefacts seen in the '3D Encounters: Where Science Meets Heritage' exhibition. Research has also allowed the Petrie Museum to develop innovative end-user applications that make collections more accessible and engaging.
The 3D imaging expertise at UCL has been called on by museums across the country looking to engage visitors through digital technology. The Petrie Museum is currently the only museum to have an end-to-end, in-house 3D imaging programme with the capacity for image capture, digital modelling, and application design and development. The Petrie Museum 3D imaging team is an interdisciplinary group of curators, conservators, software engineers and digital project managers. As 3D technology become a ubiquitous aspect of popular culture, heritage sector organisations will need to capitalise on the technology by hiring and developing staff who are comfortable working in both the physical and digital worlds.
- Tonya Nelson in Cultural leadership case studies of the British Council: Going viral: Museums and 3D. In a two part feature, Tonya Nelson defines and expands on the the idea of ‘viral capacity building’ – the acquisition of knowledge and expertise through person-to-person transfer - in light of the use of 3D technologies in museums and galleries. (Read Part 1 and Part 2).
- Book Chapter: Macdonald, S., & Nelson, T. (2012). A Space for Innovation and Experimentation: University Museums as Test Beds for New Digital Technologies. In S. S. Jandl, M. S. Gold (Eds.), A Handbook for Academic Museums: Beyond Exhibitions and Education. British Council Creative and Cultural Economy. [complete to embed full text in this IRIS publication > to chase do Mona)
- Macdonald, S., Hess, M., Robson, S., & Were, G. (2012). 3D Recording and Museums. In C. Warwick, Terras, Nyhan (Eds.), Digital Humanities in Practice (pp. 91-115). London, UK: Facet.
- 3D Petrie : 3D imaging research, digital applications and use of new technologies
- Geomatic Engineering/ Photogrammetry , 3D imaging and metrology research group
3D image of a Shabti from the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
Navigate with your mouse over the object to rotate (left mouse button) and zoom (right mouse button). This will not work on an iPad.
3D virtual reconstruction and digital repatriation of the Solomon Islands War Canoe (British Museum)
Contributors: Mona Hess, Prof Stuart Robson
3D digital documentation of a highly significant cultural heritage object from the Melanesian Southwest Pacific, held in the ethnographic collections of the British Museum. The object, which dates from about 1910, is a large plank-built war canoe from the island of Vella Lavella in New Georgia, Solomon Islands. 3D laser scanning is paired with anthropological research, which aims to deliver a holistic virtual 3D reconstruction and multimedia interactive delivery of the boat for the digital repatriation to the source community.Collaboration: University of Bergen, Norway; British Museum, London.
Re-engineering James Watt: Creation of a physical replica by 3D printing for the Science Museum London
Contributors: Mona Hess, Prof Stuart Robson
Mirroring the adoption of photography as the new media of the 1800s is the growing availability and early adoption of 3D imaging as a service for museum documentation. This short paper considers the opportunities for 3D imaging and printing systems within a museum or conservation workflow and comments on the best practice that needs to be developed in order to match the available technology to the needs of users of 3D digital and printed artefacts. It is supported with a case study illustrating the full production cycle from an original negative plaster cast to the final product in the form of a physical exhibition replica.
- Scientific Paper:Re-engineering Watt: A case study and best practice recommendations for 3D colour laser scans and 3D printing in museum artefact documentation
- Daily Mail article used for publicity of the new exhibition: Scientists create sculpture of Industrial Revolution engineer James Watt using 3D technology
Naum Gabo: digital documentation of an early plastic sculpture(Tate)
Contributor: Stuart Robson
Tate is currently undertaking a multi-disciplinary research project to document plastic sculptures by Naum Gabo (1890-1977). Gabo experimented with cellulose nitrate and cellulose acetate, materials which interestingly for photogrammetrists constitute early photographic film base materials upon which a significant body of measurement and analysis research is based. Some of these early plastics are now showing typical signs of deterioration even though they are stored instable environmental conditions. Faced with the gradual loss of a substantial part of an important collection, UCL and PCA were invited to undertake a study of available measurement technologies that could be used to accurately document the sculptures. This paper reports on the advantages and disadvantages found with each technique supported by quantitative comparison data.