3D print 18,000 famous sculptures with a free online museum

Many museums around the world remain closed. Fortunately, you can still visit some of the best virtually, from the comfort and safety of your own sofa. But why stop there? Just forget about looking at photos on your computer. Now you can bring some of the most famous and exalted works of art into your home. And you can do it for free. Through an open source museum that allows you to download and 3D print copies of sculptures and cultural artefacts.

Scan the world (which we heard about for the first time To DesignTAXI) is a free “community initiative”. Its stated mission is to share 3D printable works of art with anyone by “producing a vast ecosystem of free downloadable digital cultural heritage”, all using “democratized 3D scanning technologies”.

The site, founded by project manager Jon Beck, offers nearly 18,000 (and more) free scans accessible to everyone. This includes some of the most revered works of art ever made. Like that of Michelangelo David and The Pietà, as well as that of Rodin The Thinker and The Winged Victory of Samothrace who resides at the Louvre.

Michelangelo's Pieta and Rodin's The ThinkerScan the world

Users can search the collection by name, artist, or location. Or you can click “random” to discover a new room that you have never seen before. Even if you don’t own a 3D printer, the site is a great introduction to all kinds of artwork. Each piece is accompanied by a description of the work. There is also technical information, like the size of your copy, the complexity of the print, and the time it will take to complete. And of course, you can also contribute a new scan yourself, just by using your phone.

Colossal reports with which the site has recently associated Google Arts and Culture. This should lead to thousands of other pieces uploaded to the site, coming from several of the best museums in the world.

Even when museums reopen everywhere, Scan the world will provide an invaluable service. Mainly because it’s free for everyone.

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