3D printing and 3D scanning to play a major role
Museums across the globe are steadily shaking their dusty old stereotypes, but how far do they actually go in embracing cutting edge technologies?
An interesting publication from MW 2103 by Neely and Langer takes a serious look at the role digital manufacturing can play in paving the way for innovative museums to add value like never before.
Highlighting 3D technologies including 3D printing and 3D scanning in particular, the article paints a positive picture of the way that museums can engage patrons with stimulating, challenging exhibits. You can really see the influence of the rise of the Maker Movement, as shown in the image above where kids learn about 3D printing at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Things get a lot more exciting as you read further, with a “return to materiality” championing physical interaction in an environment that has traditionally been hands-off.
Replicas have always been a part of the museum experience, due to the inherently fragile or particularly valuable nature of many exhibits. By utilising 3D scanning and 3D printing, museum artefacts can not only be conserved by recreating their physical forms, but according to Neely and Langer there is also the potential to create something entirely new. The following example shows two ancient artworks remixed into a novel sculpture by Tom Burtonwood.
Teasing out the pros and cons as to whether museums should become early adopters of these technologies is one of many lively discussions explored in this article that are sure to continue well beyond MW2013.