Meet Tom Flynn, our new Cultural Heritage Lead

Back to overview

We’re all very excited to welcome Tom Flynn to the Sketchfab team! Tom has always been highly involved with the Sketchfab community and became a Sketchfab Master last year, where he has recently been hosting the 3D Scanning Challenges. With close to 7,500 followers there’s a good chance you’ve seen his work before!

Tom is the fourth community member we’ve hired so far (Paul Chambers being the first,our Senior Artist Christian Le Roux the second and 3D developer Remy Bouquet the third). As a ‘Community First’ company, it makes us immensely proud to see that our community likes us this much! ♥️

Hi Tom! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello! I like to think I’m a pretty simple guy who’s interested in a lot of things. I’m a long time maker of digital stuff – websites, animations, music, video – and have a history of teaching myself how to use software tools to Get The Job™. My schooling was in sound and audio but my early career was in digital design. Way back in the day I was a guitar tutor for a youth education programme in my hometown of Bournemouth in the UK, where I grew up by the sea. I currently live in south London.

What did you do before this?

Most recently I’ve been making 3D scans via photogrammetry and teaching people in museums how to do the same. Perhaps most notably, I helped develop the 3D scanning programme at the British Museum along with Daniel Pett, Jennifer Wexler and Neil Wilkin and a whole bunch of other talented people. I’ve been helping other museums and cultural orgs join in the 3D fun. It’s great seeing more cultural and historic 3D content being published, especially when so much is downloadable under CC license for people to share and re-use.

I’m also co-founder of a company called Museum in a Box which is trying to help museums share more of their content in new ways with more people around the world by using clever tech like 3D printing, contactless interaction and wireless communication. Here’s how it works.

What will you be doing at Sketchfab?

I’ll be taking care of all things cultural heritage – helping institutions that already use the platform to get the most out of it and helping those yet to take the plunge to establish sustainable 3D scanning programmes. I’m also keen to highlight the great work small institutions and individuals are doing in this area and demonstrate the many, many ways 3D (and not just 3D scanning) can help explain and share the story of our planet.

What are you most excited about now that you’re on the team?

Aside from joining a bunch of friendly and ridiculously talented people at Sketchfab, I am excited to discover hidden museum collections through the (still pretty astounding) process of 3D duplication. Often, only a tiny proportion – a mere percent or two – of any museum’s collection is on public display and I’m keen to re-discover them in 3D, just as the objects are in real life (and not just through a handful of digital photos). I can’t travel to all the thousands and thousands of museums around the world, each with unique objects and stories to tell, in my lifetime – but I now have the possibility of spelunking through a wealth of historical objects wherever I am.

What is your favourite model on Sketchfab and why?

Oh man, tough question! I like a lot of models on Sketchfab. If I had to choose I’d say this model by Josep Giribet / calidos.cat – it’s a mesmerising animation and a feat of photogrammetric grit. While the model is amazing in it’s own right, if you read the description, it speaks of the massive amounts of human labour that goes into the real life reconstruction and preservation of historical artefacts every day, all over the world:

How can you be reached?

Very easily – drop me a message from my profile, say hello on Twitter or email museums@sketchfab.com.

If you’re going to be at Museums and the Web in Cleveland next month, why not say hello in person? I’ll be there with Dan Pett from the British Museum demonstrating how easy it is to digitise in 3D…

About the author

Bart Veldhuizen

Head of Community at Sketchfab. 3D Scanning enthusiast and Blenderhead. Running BlenderNation in my spare time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related articles