Our First Exhibit: A 3D Printed Protest Of Museum Access & Technology Pipelines

 The Open Access Antiquarianism Exhibit and Presentation at the 2015 Digital Heritage Expo at the Granada New Science Museum, Granada, Spain

In conjunction with the 3D printed Diagnostic Baptistery discussed in an earlier post, we also presented the following:

SAM_3345   SAM_0463 SAM_0461

The Tipping Point Of 3D Printed Heritage


Open Access Antiquarianism


3D printing is an extraordinary, expanding creative resource for education, outreach, and research initiatives. Yet few museums and heritage stakeholders are fully taking advantage of the new medium by stepping into the leadership role it provides as driver for new and optimized aspects of 3D printing, modelling, and other visual and informatics technologies.

Open access online databases like Thingiverse and Sketchfab, actively compile and easily share models for 3D printing, making it relatively easy for museums and heritage stakeholders to contribute. However, in the seven years since these databases have been active, the global heritage industry and its estimated 55,000 museums have only officially shared less than 200 digital versions of the world’s potential millions of historical and artistic artifacts. Of those, only 148 are of suitable quality for converting into a 3D print.

This sculpture is a color-coded collection of those 148 usable 3D printable digital models that have been uploaded as creative commons materials to these databases directly by museums, with appropriate meta-data about the original artifact attached.

Purple artifacts represent models uploaded by the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Green toned artifacts were shared by the British Museum in London, Pinks and Reds by the Art Institute in Chicago, Gold by the Hornium Museum in London, Silver by the Brooklyn Museum of New York, and the Blues and Teals represent the largest shareable collection, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City.

If the sum total of the world’s 3D printable, openly accessible heritage can fit on a single podium—there’s clearly a problem with the current pipelines in place to create and share this information. Further technologies, methodologies, and open access protocols need to be created and optimized in order to ensure a shareable, usable, and enjoyable digital and printable global history.









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