Over 500 Cultural Institutions have joined Sketchfab

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We’ve just reached another important milestone: we are proud to say that more than 500 cultural institutions have chosen a home on Sketchfab making us one of the largest virtual museums in the world.

Since we launched in 2012, we’ve been a popular choice for cultural institutions to share their collections in 3D and VR. Art and heritage are two of our most important values and we are committed more than ever to support and grow cultural content on Sketchfab. 2016 was a huge year for 3D and VR in the cultural world.

Our most viewed Cultural Heritage upload on Sketchfab had more than 1.4M views, and is our 3rd most viewed scene:

Growth

The cultural institutions come from 51 different countries and are part of our ongoing effort to help promote heritage with free Business accounts and dedicated support (visit this page to learn more).

There are now more than 13,500 scenes shared by our heritage partners and you can explore a small selection of the most viewed here:

You can explore some of the world’s most prestigious museums (including The British Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art or The RMN – Grand Palais) along with prestigious school departments, National parks, libraries and governmental or non-profit cultural organizations.

It’s also great to see Cultural artifacts reach a wider audience than just our own community. Sketchfab embeds received a lot of attention this year and have been featured on some of the world’s biggest news channels including CNN, National Geographic, News 18, Techcrunch, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The Jericho Skull was featured by CNN and the National Geographic:

Vision

Our effort to bring more cultural content to Sketchfab is driven by our desire for exhaustiveness. Our goal is to provide an uninterrupted timeline of human history and art from every place on earth:

3D, VR and Sketchfab

The institutions that call Sketchfab home hold thousands of stories (many of which can be read on our blog). Whether they embed 3D/VR artifacts on their website, share them on their social channels (examples on Facebook or Twitter) or leverage our enthusiastic community, institutions have so many ways to reach existing audiences and attract new ones.

Digitizing artifacts means no longer limiting geographical or temporal constraints. In addition, most collections don’t have enough space to show everything they house so sharing collections shines a spotlight on inventory that wouldn’t normally be accessible to the public.

Digital capture is also a way for people with disabilities to access to a part of the museum. And artifacts, often fragile or massive, can be explored and manipulated to see more details than if you were looking through a glass case.

It would be difficult to explore this underwater shipwreck without this scan:

Cultural institutions also digitize their collections for documentation, preservation and restoration. French start-up Iconem for example uses digital preservation to capture endangered heritage sites and the digitally reconstruct destructed ones.

Finally, 3D, VR and Sketchfab can be used for exhibition management:

New Trends

3D scanning has never been more accessible and many institutions have taken this opportunity to kickstart their 3D/VR collections, even with a low budget. Daniel Pett, Digital Humanities Manager at the British Museum for example, creates a 3D model each week ( more about his process here) with his smartphone. And the results are impressive:

And cultural institutions have begun taking VR into account and this year we’ve been able to explore the first VR exhibitions on Sketchfab.

Finally, we’re excited about the recent evolution in Augmented Reality and can’t wait to see artifacts on Sketchfab used in AR environments (learn more).

We’ll continue to make sure Sketchfab is the place to access diverse cultural content and more diversified one. Thank you 500 times (and more) for this incredible milestone!

About the author

Raphaël Marchou

Cultural Heritage Enthusiast !


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