Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

CD Brings Smithsonian Artifacts to Your Desktop

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

CD Brings Smithsonian Artifacts to Your Desktop

Article excerpt

Some of America's greatest artifacts, including many never before on public display, can now be viewed from your desktop PC, thanks to a new CD-ROM produced for the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Museum Collections features 670 images of historic artifacts from all 16 Smithsonian museums and collections.

Smithsonian curators selected all the items on the disc, including George Washington's mess kit from the Revolutionary War, an ornately engraved silver canteen from 13th century Syria and Eli Whitney's original cotton gin. These and many other artifacts were photographed and recreated as solid, 3D replicas, allowing the user to rotate objects in all directions and remove their outer layers for a unique perspective.

The CD-ROM was created by Synthonics Technologies (www.synthonics.com) of Westlake Village, Calif., and employs its patented Rapid Virtual Reality technology. All of the items are enhanced by pop-up text; some include sound and video clips. The main page links to all museums and libraries as well as to an index to all items.

"Synthonics' imaging technology has now demonstrated that museums can dramatically expand access to, and allow interaction with, valuable artifacts once stored away from public access," noted Michael Carrigan, director of the Smithsonian Affiliation Program. …

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