About Smithsonian X 3D

Smithsonian X 3D launches a set of use cases which apply various 3D capture methods to iconic collection objects, as well as scientific missions. These projects indicate that this new technology has the potential not only to support the Smithsonian mission, but to transform museum core functions. Researchers working in the field may not come back with specimens, but with 3D data documenting a site or a find. Curators and educators can use 3D data as the scaffolding to tell stories or send students on a quest of discovery. Conservators can benchmark today’s condition state of a collection item against a past state – a deviation analysis of 3D data will tell them exactly what changes have occurred. All of these uses cases are accessible through the Beta Smithsonian X 3D Explorer, as well as videos documenting the project. For many of the 3D models, raw data can be downloaded to support further inquiry and 3D printing.

The Digitization Program Office is the hub for the Smithsonian’s inquiry into 3D. We support all 19 museums, 9 research centers and the National Zoo in their quest to increase the quantity and quality of Smithsonian digital assets. The Smithsonian digitization challenge and opportunity can be measured by the total number of collection items: at 137 million objects, artworks and specimens, capturing the entire collection at a rate of 1 item per minute would take over 260 years of 24/7 effort. At the present moment, the Smithsonian has prioritized the digitization of about 10% of its collections for digitization. To rise to this challenge, the Digitization Program Office is promoting rapid capture photography workflows for two-dimensional collections, and exploring innovations to speed up the capture of our three-dimensional collections, preferably in 3D.

With only 1% of collections on display in Smithsonian museum galleries, digitization affords the opportunity to bring the remaining 99% of the collection into the virtual light. All of these digital assets become the infrastructure which will allow not just the Smithsonian, but the world at large to tell new stories about the familiar, as well as the unfamiliar, treasures in these collections.

About the 3D Team

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Max Anderson

Max Anderson

3D Specialist

Max Anderson is from Texas. He has a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, where he focused on performance studies, digital fabrication, and painting. At the DPO, Max is mostly concerned with consolidating raw data in to finished 3D models, and web-based applications. He lives in Baltimore, where he makes analog electronic instruments and tries to do things with words.

Staff picture of Jon Blundell

Jon Blundell

3D Digitization Specialist

A Maryland native, Jon Blundell is currently living out the assumption he made at the age of 6, that he would either be working at the Smithsonian, or become an astronaut. He chose the shorter commute. The intervening years he spent going to school, working in the historic preservation trades, and participating in DC’s punk scene. At the DPO Jon spends his time producing 3D scanned models of Smithsonian objects to support conservation and research, and most importantly increase public access to the Smithsonian’s collections. Having grown up with the Smithsonian a Metro ride away, he is pleased to be part of the effort to share the institution’s vast collection with the world. When he’s not uploading the Smithsonian’s collection to the Matrix he can be found dabbling in math, playing tabletop games, and climbing fake rocks.

Joe Conrad

Joe Conrad

3D Specialist

Joe Conrad joined the Smithsonian in 2017 as a 3D scanning and modeling specialist after working for several years in private industry. Joe is well-versed in both the natural sciences and the humanities, having earned a B.S. in Marine Science and a B.A. in History at Eckerd College in 2010. His first exposure to 3D technology applied to questions in the field of Ancient Greek and Roman naval warfare as a graduate student in the Department of History at the University of South Florida where he completed his M.A. in Ancient History in 2013. He is excited to apply knowledge gained in the private sector to collections across the Smithsonian. In his spare time, Joe enjoys Latin dance, independent and foreign film, examining US foreign policy, and weight training. 

Meg Dattoria

Meg Dattoria

3D Specialist

Borne of polygons and fire, Meg joined the Smithsonian with a background in 3D modeling and traditional metalsmithing. After receiving her degree in Interdisciplinary Object Design from Towson University in 2012, she started with Smithsonian Exhibits (formerly the Office of Exhibits Central) making models and artifact mounts for exhibits. In 2015, Meg broke the LCD ceiling and joined the 3D team’s “laser cowboys” as the first cowgirl. Since then, she finds fulfillment digitizing the Smithsonian’s collections and forcing people to look at pictures of her 2 dogs, 4 chickens, and 2 ducks.

Vincent Rossi

Vincent Rossi

Senior 3D Program Officer

Vincent Rossi hails from the great state of New Jersey. He has a BFA in sculpture from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and Graduate level fine art study at Goldsmiths College/ University of London, England. From 2004 to 2011, he worked as a sculptor, model maker and project manager for the Smithsonian's Office of Exhibit Central and helped produce and manage many Smithsonian exhibits. From 2011 to present Vince works as a 3D Program Officer for the Smithsonian's Digitization Program Office - building 3D capacity, developing 3D workflows and trying to live life to the fullest.