3D model of Abraham Lincoln. Source: Smithsonian
3D model of Abraham Lincoln. Source: Smithsonian

The Smithsonian, a group of museums and research facilities funded by the U.S. government, has a selection of 3D scans of some of their artifacts.

These scans offer unique possibilities in that users can download them for free and explore relics in a more in-depth manner than even looking at the objects in person at the museum. Users may download the files and 3D print them for personal and non-commercial use, making this a useful tool for teachers to use in the classroom. Some of the 3D models tell stories by unwrapping the layers of the scan, such as the Cosmic Buddha.

The Smithsonian has millions of precious artifacts and objects, so they are unable to digitally scan their entire collection. The museum has elected to scan the most notable objects in which users will find additional information and which provide useful, valuable tools for educators, students, and citizens.        

Check out the Smithsonian Explorer 3D