Via the Smithsonian Digitisation Program Office blog

Since young, the museum has been my "second home"[1]. It was a mass of secrets, quiet spaces and things to learn about.

So looking out from Singapore, I researched about museums overseas, the exhibitions they were having, etc. Short of flying over to visit them, I wondered how could people see these exhibitions for themselves.

Lucky for me, part of my job involved managing a project on archiving selected exhibitions in Singapore. Amazing 360 degree photos were taken and tagged with curated exhibition text, then uploaded online.

But having visited the exhibitions myself and then visiting the website, the experience was hugely sub-par.

I filed the project away in my memory and continued on to a graduate programmed in Museum Education. Digital exhibitions came to mind when I researched what to do as a graduating paper, but after researching the landscape, it didn't excite me. The experience was still... sub-par.

Fast-forward to now.

With the rise and improvements of Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), I finally see the potential for digital exhibitions! A physical exhibition excites a viewer's sights and senses. In order for digital exhibitions to achieve something on a similar level, I believe that it has to be immersive, either entirely virtual or augmented [2].

But digital exhibitions require digitisation of artefacts on an immense scale, which is why when the Smithsonian Digitisation Program Office first started posting their work online many many years, I got excited. Here was an organisation with the foresight to sink resources into a long-term goal that will pay off years later.

3D Digitization of museum collection objects has traditionally been a boutique operation with lengthy capture and processing times, which translates to a high cost and low throughput method for creating 3D digital surrogates. As such, we are looking for ways to improve these methods and go from scanning individual objects to scanning entire collections.

Here's they are trying to scale up their 3D digitisation program.

It is so heartening to see them share their work, some workflow processes, and aspects of improvement.

  1. Spent too much time volunteering there ↩︎

  2. Blend of virtual and real ↩︎