A Multi-Dimensional World of Possibilities

A stanced sherd of pottery placed between to miniature bean bags to hold it vertically rather then laying down. Artec Scanner also included in photo next to plate that the sherd is located on.

This is a stanced sherd of pottery and the Artec Scanner used to make the 3D scans.


A Multi-Dimensional World of Possibilities

Helena Hyziak, Museum Studies Intern at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History - Fall 2021

While normal museum work takes place in back rooms, working to create the perfect in person exhibition context to display historical objects, this semester I worked to show history in a different setting. The digital world is becoming a very important aspect of museum practices, with online catalogs increasingly taking the place of printed books. Websites make it possible to show people all over the world objects from museum collections. This digital turn was fundamental to my internship this semester, as it sought to create a digital exhibition to show pieces from the Egyptology collection to a global audience. 

The internship was under the direction of Dr. Lisa Haney at the Carnegie Natural History Museum’s Anthropology Department with Dr. Joshua Cannon from the University of Pittsburgh’s Honors College. We worked with different artifacts within the Egyptology Department as well as other pieces from various departments for extra practice. We used 3D scanning technology to make models of artifacts that could be viewed digitally. While the majority of museums only use two dimensional images of pieces, we wanted to allow museum enthusiasts to be able to have a 360° view of artifacts and experience them in their full three-dimensionality. 

3D scanning is a fairly new technology that can lead to several different avenues for museums and in field work. Scanning different sherds of pottery allowed us to have a better view of the details printed on the surface. One piece we scanned displayed lines carved into it; although once scanned and with color added to the 3D image, it allowed us to see that there was a bit of yellow paint mostly chipped off, something that was not seen by the naked eye. So, 3D scanning technology allows us to create fully digital copies of artifacts and pinpoint parts that may be of more interest or need to be seen in higher detail. Those that continue in this program will be able to expand on these ideas of 3D scanning’s world of possibilities both within museum exhibitions and data collection as well as possibilities for field use.

  • Academic Interns
  • Undergraduate Work
  • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh