Today our 3D team drove to the Smithsonian’s Museum Support Center (MSC) with a car full of 3D scanning equipment. MSC is a collection storage facility that houses objects not on display at the Smithsonian museums. The 3D team’s mission is to scan a group of ancient turtle skeletons and crustaceans; specimens too large or fragile to be easily transported.
Walking through the treasures that live in MSC, it felt like a wild expedition with shelves brimming with fossils ready to be discovered.
Tim Coffer, a Collections Manager of the Invertebrate Zoology department at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), fed our curiosity by giving us an exclusive tour of the other 99% of the Smithsonian collections not on public view.
A few weeks earlier, the 3D team collaborated with Tim on the coral pilot project scanning over 80 coral specimens in two weeks. We use several methods of scanning 3D models of coral: automated turntable photogrammetry, hand-held photogrammetry, and structured light scanning.
In addition to hundreds of mammal skeletons like deer, rams, elephants, there we also saw thousands of jars containing marine creatures. The whole team was fascinated by all the specimens and took turns asking Tim about their origins.
Following the tour, we started to setup our equipment for photogrammetry on the Invertebrate Zoology floor. Later in the week we will be getting down to business.
By Taylor Houlihan, 3D intern for OCIO-DPO