Smithsonian turns to 3D to bring collection to the world

With just 2 percent of the Smithsonian’s archive of 137 million items available to the public at any one time, an effort is under way at the world’s largest museum and research institution to adopt 3D tools to expand its reach around the country.

CNET has learned that the Smithsonian has a new initiative to create a series of 3D-printed models, exhibits, and scientific replicas–as well as to generate a new digital archive of 3D models of many of the physical objects in its collection.

Representative of that effort, the museum is touting the 3D printed replica of a Thomas Jefferson statue that it recently installed for the Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. According to the museum, this is the largest 3D printed museum quality historical replica on Earth and is a copy of a statue on display at Monticello, the Thomas Jefferson museum in Virginia — via

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