Best Methods and Practices for 3D Storage of Museum Objects

lokakuu 15, 2020

Traffic museums have taken over the 3D process this year. This is the largest joint 3D recording project of Finnish museums, which includes the Postal Museum, Forum Marinum, Päivälehti Museum, Railway Museum, Mobilia and the Museum of Technology.

Each museum has photographed and modeled museum objects for teaching and exhibition use and produced applications from the 3D models made from them. 3D modeled materials can be used in teaching, research and hobbies. The finished 3D material has also been commercialized for sale in museum shops. Finnish cultural heritage is thus widely available to the public. The 3D models will be published for public use in September on the Sketchfab – 3D service and later also at Finna.

A unique cultural heritage to achieve

According to Tiina Jantunen, project manager of the Finnish Museums Association, the utilization of 3D models is first tested in practice. Next, the audience gets to make their own experiments.
– It is exciting to see what all of the models eventually emerge and where everywhere they end up. 3D data alone does nothing in itself. Only the end use determines the format and resolution of the 3D recording and the technology used. One of the most important lessons of the 3D project has been to find out what 3D modeling can and should be used for in museums.
3D imaging of museum objects is about the accessibility, preservation and versatile usability of a unique, fragile and vulnerable cultural heritage, for example for exhibition or research use, and not just for AR and VR game applications.

High-quality digitization of cultural heritage supports the preservation, restoration and promotion of common cultural heritage. The cultural heritage digitized online is valuable for education, research and enthusiasts, in addition to which it brings visibility to cultural diversity. Currently, only about 1% of Europe’s cultural heritage has been digitized.

A learning process for museums

A new operating model for 3D production enables even small museums to produce 3D models at a reasonable cost.

Before starting to shoot, the photographer needs to know how 3D recording works in practice and with what accuracy and equipment to make objects of high enough 3D modeling. 3D imaging of a single object using photogrammetry requires up to thousands of images.
After the experiments, the museums ended up 3D-photographing themselves in the so-called easy objects and more difficult objects are left to the professionals. In this case, the actual use of the modeling program is also left mainly to professionals. Museums describe the material and pass it on for further processing by professionals. In the past, museums in Finland have mainly bought the entire 3D process as a purchasing service.

In part, 3D modeling itself allows museums to influence the cost of storing 3D material and can store a larger amount of material. When museums know basic 3D skills, they know how to place 3D orders sensibly and resource efficiently.

Involvement of the audience in the selection and modeling of the objects to be selected

Museums are now able and dare to produce 3D models more easily and quickly with a 3D expert partner themselves. In the future, the aim is to get the public to participate in the selection and modeling of objects to be selected for 3D modeling. In this way, we ensure that our common cultural heritage is as widely accessible, attractive and versatile as possible.

Webinar: Best Methods and Practices for 3D Storage of Museum Objects