3D printing, 3D scanning and the future of the museum

Liz Neely and Miriam Langner from Museums and the Web have written an excellent article reflecting on the potential impacts of 3D printing in the world of museums – from an insider’s perspective.

Neely and Langner’s  take on the subject has a positive undertone to it – it focuses on the key aspects related to the development and future forms that museums might take motored by 3D printing.

The article considers several relevant aspects related to the potentially vast symbiosis of museums and 3D printing and what it could mean in practice as hinted by a few applications to date. The model presented in the article is a forward thinking new paradigm for a sector traditionally not known for its adaptation rate of new tech. Neely and Langer recognize that 3D technologies, combining 3D printing and 3D scanning/modelling, could add value in such sectors as conservation, collection access and exhibition planning and education.

Other fundamental factors that make 3D printing interesting to museums are the rise of the maker movement in general and it’s underlying ethos of “return to materiality”, as the authors note. This of course can be interpreted as an increase in the general appreciation of the museum sector – a physical institution with the majority of pieces being some kind of tangible objects (though not always available for up close and personal tinkering compared to the maker mentality).

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Source: 3D Printing Industry

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