I love the potential for 3D imaging (and printing) and am so glad it has been discussed in this class because not only is it weirdly cool and futuristic, it has so much use in the heritage field. I actually really like th example of when a historicaly significant arch had been destroyed in Palmyra by Islamic state, 3d imaging from UNESCO was used by the Institute of Digital Archaelogy to create a 3D print of the arch using Egyptian marble and now stands in Trafalgar Square. Not only is this letting a new audience interact with something that may not have otherwise (also good like Tim suggested from educational purposes for remote towns but also good for potentially dangerous countries that have a wealth of historical objects many can’t access) it’s also saving that object as well. Touching and seeing an objects physicality is a primary component of engaging with, understanding and enjoying an objects, and gains context to its history. Recently I visited the 100 objects of the world at the National Museum, and one of the objects is the original wood cut of Durer’s Rhinoceros. Next to the originial the National Museum has a hologram of the rhinoceros and a link to a 3D printable from their website. These are there to represent the inaccuracies in the drawing (as it is considered a non-accurate drawing of a rhinoceros that was taken as fact by the British) as well as a good educational tool.
I do agree that we don’t want to get too caught up in augmented or virtual realities, as it takes away the realness of seeing objects (we’ve all seen the Mona Lisa before, but how many have really seen it is different.) However I think that in terms of accessibility it is a great digital strength, those who may not have money, physical ability, or live too far away can experience museums that they may have interest in personally or academically. In regards to specific museum’s purposes this may match many criteria of letting the public experience history and sharing that.
Here is an example of my own 3D image using 123d catch, I have a humble collection of Buddhas so here is on