Google expands its online museum with 3D objects

The Google Art Project is growing online today with a collection of more than 200 objects displayed in 3D. These objects are available – to the public – to be rotated and zoomed, allowing users to get closer to them in ways never before possible, online or offline. Quirks and rare works of art can now be flipped and inspected from all angles, all thanks to 3D scanning technology that Google is now making available to museums around the world for free.

This program begins today with 6 global pilot partners. This collection includes works of art and nature from the following institutions. Click on one of the following museum links to access their thriving collection of 3D digitized objects.

• The California Academy of Sciences
• The Israel Museum in Jerusalem
• Los Angeles County Museum of Art
• Dallas Museum of Art
• Museum of Oriental Art in Rome
• Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien in Vienna

In each of these museums in the Google Art Project Library, users can see everything from animal skulls to ancient human masks and statues. Grave items, models, sculptures and priceless artifacts of many types are also included.

Once you find an object (via the links above) to a 3D object, you will be able to rotate that object with your mouse by holding down and moving. If you can’t get it to work elsewhere, try using Google Chrome.


The 3D functionality you see here is made available to museums and other partners by the Google Cultural Institute. It’s the same organization that makes Google’s Street Art Project possible.

UPDATE: Below, we take a closer look at the 3D scanning technology that Google is using with the museums in this project. Note that the setup isn’t exactly entirely designed by Google, but a clever amalgamation of high-quality tech, like a Lenovo laptop and a Canon camera.

This scanning technology is Google for this museum project here in the present – but in the future, who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see!


UPDATE 2: Google suggests that they have “no plans at this time” for using the technology on projects outside of object analysis for the Google Cultural Institute.

Also check out our chat with Google on documenting street art!

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