Considered one of the finest Ancient Egyptian collections in the world, The University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has over 42,000 items in their collection. Direct Dimensions was approached recently by the University of Pennsylvania museum, known as The University Museum, with an exciting 3D project: the museum officials wanted to offer replicas of some of the more special pieces for sale in the museum gift shop.
Given the well preserved condition of these original ancient artifacts, and the museum's dedication to quality and authenticity, it was important that the replicas be as close to a perfect copy as possible. The officials quickly realized that advanced non-contact 3D imaging technology would be needed to perform this task.
For example, with the age of the sculptures dating back to approximately 1300 B.C., it would not be possible to cast a mold off the pieces as this could damage the originals. It was also determined that some of the pieces would need to be reproduced in smaller and/or larger versions than the originals, so direct casting would not work.
With previous experience scanning the sculptures of Matisse and Degas for institutions such as the Baltimore Museum of Art, National Galley of Art in DC, and MOMA, Direct Dimensions provided the expertise to help The University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology complete this project. Working in museums with priceless works of art has become a regular component of our business and growing broader everyday.
The DDI technicians scanned four different sculptures: the Amun, the Headless Princess, the Scribe, and a Kneeling King Tut. An articulating arm-based laser line scanner provided high accuracy and real-time feedback to assure complete capture before heading back to Baltimore to process the raw scan data.
The final digital models were formatted into STL files and fabricated using rapid prototyping to create high quality patterns. Then the museum arranged for a production fabricator to cast the reproductions in a high quality resin material.
The museum-quality reproduction sculptures are some of the most popular items in their gift shop and visitors are thrilled to bring a little piece of Ancient Egypt home with them.