January 27, 2022

Cool! Smithsonian Releases 3-D Collection and Launches New X 3D Explorer

Note: Last weekend (yes, infoDOCKET is updated seven days a week) we shared a brief item about the Smithsonian’s 3-D collection announcement and conference.

The Smithsonian X 3D Explorer is now live and the conference underway. You can watch a live stream of the event (Nov. 13 and Nov. 14) on UStream.

Below, note the paragraph about the data being made available to education community.

From the Smithsonian Institution:

The Smithsonian today unveiled the Smithsonian X 3D Collection and state-of-the-art 3-D explorer.

“The Smithsonian is a leader in using 3-D technology to make museum collections and scientific specimens more widely available for anyone to use and study,” said Günter Waibel, the director of the Institution’s Digitization Program Office. “The Smithsonian X 3D explorer and the initial objects we scanned are the first step in showing how this technology will transform the work of the Smithsonian and other museums and research institutions.”

The Smithsonian X 3D Collection features objects from the Smithsonian that highlight different applications of 3-D capture and printing, as well as digital delivery methods for 3-D data in research, education and conservation.

The announcement kicked off the Smithsonian X 3D Conference, a two-day event focused on the current state of the Institution’s 3-D program and where it is headed in the future.


To view these and other objects scanned using 3-D technology, the Smithsonian and San Francisco-based Autodesk created the Smithsonian X 3D explorer. The explorer contains a variety of tools for examining these objects. Users will be able to rotate the objects, take accurate measurements between points and adjust color and lighting. The explorer also has a storytelling feature, which allows Smithsonian curators and educators to create guided tours of the models. The explorer is also embeddable on non-Smithsonian websites, blogs and social media.

In addition to being able to view these objects using the explorer, the raw 3-D data from the objects will be made available for downloading for personal and noncommercial use. Teachers and other educators can use the data to create 3-D models of these objects for use in their classrooms. 

Direct to X 3D Website

Direct to X 3D Resources for Educators

Overview and Introduction to X 3D Explorer

Learn about the fascinating features of the new Smithsonian X 3D Explorer and how to navigate, explore and manipulate 3D collection objects. This page gets you started and explains the functionality of the explorer in detail.

Overview Videos

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.