Bankrolled by fundraising initiatives hosted via 3D file marketplace MyMiniFactory, Scan the World is designed to be a community-led ‘open-source museum,’ which enables users to share printable artefacts captured using 3D scanning, and over the last seven years it has built up a free database of over 20,000 STL files.
Through its latest campaign, Scan the World aims to raise sufficient capital to enable the community to undertake larger new projects, capturing their favorite art and relics around the globe. In the short time since the crowdfunding initiative launched, it has amassed more than 100 backers, and supporters can now help fund the group’s next big scanning projects in return for all-new pledge rewards.
Democratizing art and culture
Since being established by Jonathan Beck back in 2014, Scan the World has used 3D scanning to capture art forms and artefacts from over 50 global museums and institutions, and shared them with the hobbyist community. Once optimized for 3D printing, Beck and co. effectively distribute these models freely as STL files across MyMiniFactory, allowing users to download and print their own replicas at will.
Through the power of open collaboration, Scan the World has managed to ‘liberate’ the art stored in many exotic private collections, and make it readily-available to the masses. Beck and his small team have also partnered with cultural institutions to help preserve their historic pieces, including those at the Statens Museum for Kunst and Thorvaldsensmuseum in Denmark as well as Sweden’s Nationalmuseum.
Elsewhere, Scan the World has continued to work closely with London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) as well. Initially, the group was invited to display 3D printed sculptures at an exhibition coinciding with La Biennale di Venezia, and Beck has since been called upon to speak at the museum’s Cast Courts reopening, contributing on the theme of “Celebrating Reproductions: Past, Present and Future.”
More recently, Scan the World has teamed up with Google Arts & Culture to expand on its collection of open-source, 3D printable art. The collaboration has seen the models on the Google Arts & Culture platform become viewable in 3D, with STL files now available for download via Scan the World on MyMiniFactory’s website.
Taking art scanning to the next level
Running from June 29 2021 to July 28 2021, Scan the World’s latest fundraiser is designed to “make the community the curator of an Open Source Museum,” giving them a voice to decide which artefacts should be scanned next. In this spirit, the campaign is incorporating stretch goals that, if met, will cover the travel costs necessary to travel abroad, capture and share specific cultural relics.
If and when Scan the World hits its $9,500 target, for instance, backers will be able to choose between digitizing looted bronzes from China’s Old Summer Palace or an STL of the site’s ruins. Funding raised via the campaign will also go towards the costs behind scanning and processing sculptures, as well as supporting those developing tutorials and other video content for the platform.
As an added bonus for contributors, Scan the World has now added rewards to the fundraiser as well, including funky art-themed tee shirts, statuesque 3D prints and exotic renders from artists across the globe.
While entry-level donors will receive a set of three unique 3D printable artefacts created exclusively for Scan the World’s campaign, those who contribute more can choose between four different tee shirt designs, a physical A3-format 2D print, or even a 3D printed model from a selection of high-quality sculptures.
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Featured image shows three statues covered with satin sheets. Image via Scan the World.