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3. The Digital Museum


The UCL’s Petrie Museum is developing an innovative 3D imaging programme that will transform museum practice and enrich visitor experiences.

Tonya Nelson Sally MacDonald

Tonya Nelson

Manager of the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

Sally MacDonald

Director of UCL Museums and Public Engagement

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.

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3D highlight

3D image of a Shabti from the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

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