3D Modelling for Museums and Collections

I have worked with a range of collections in universities and in cultural institutions on 3D models as a method for capturing and sharing the collection in new ways.

This type of digital engagement has is used for enhancing teaching, supporting remote engagement, and offering people a way to get ‘up close and personal’ with objects that can’t be handled. I am also currently engaged on some research that is experimenting with 3D reconstruction of early modern landscapes and structures as a research method for understanding lost landscapes.

Below are a few projects I have been working on with collections and with collaborators over the past seven years.

Convict Love Tokens

This project was undertaken in 2023 with the National Museum of AUstralia, I worked on it collabortively with ANU Masters of Digital Humaniteis and Public Culture student Angel Leelasorn, and with the photography and digital production team and conservators at the NMA (shout out to in particular to Martin Scott, Jason McCarthy and Glen Goodwin). The brief for this project was to create 3D versions of the museum’s collection of Convict Love Tokens. These are coins that were inscribed with messages for people being transported from Great Britain to Australia in the very late 18th century and first half of the 19th century. They offer glimpses into the lives of ordinary people facing the uncertainty of travel across the globe, and they capture the emotion of that separation that was likely to be permanent. When you view the tokens they are small and clearly designed to be handled, turned over in the palm to read the words and view the images, maybe they were kept close to the body, some have small holes maybe suggesting they were threaded onto a ribbon and worn around the neck. As part of a new exhibition travelling to regional centres, the NMA wanted 3D models to use as a supplement to the display of the real tokens. the idea was to offer viewers a way to see both sides of the token, and to zoom in to read the text. Angel and I worked with Jason and Glen to work out a way to capture these tokens in high resolution, to resolve the challenges of the 3D modelling (coins are difficult objects to to shininess and symmetry) and to do it relatively quickly so we could supply models of all the tokens chosen for the exhibitions. We used a mix of photogrammetry and 3D modelling from scratch with texturing using the high resolution photos. We are writing up the workflow in more detail but you can see some images of the project below.

Links NMA Convict Love Tokens Collection

Travelling exhibition – current at Bega.