Google, in their semi-terrifying quest to document and archive everything on the planet, has scanned and uploaded 3D models of objects in six different museums. The 303 objects, mostly animal skulls from the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco collection, also include ancient (and we mean ancient) works of art. The scans are available on Google’s Cultural Institute.
You’re never going to be able to get as up-close and personal with these objects in person. No docent in their right mind would let you pick up The Oldest Mask in the World, a 9,000 year-old piece of Neolithic artwork, and spin it around in your hands. But that’s precisely what the 3D models allow you to do with high definition detail. In some ways, the scans give you a better sense of the work than seeing it in person.
Hyperallergic pointed out that the British Museum did a similar project last year by scanning and uploading 14 objects from their collection.
We hope this project can be partnered with virtual reality sometime in the near future. We could spend hours playing Junior Anthropologist by strapping an Oculus Rift set to our heads and browsing Google’s archives. This collection is small for now, but its potential is incredible.
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