A Dream of Art for Everyone: Digitizing the Met!

Today a dream is coming true for me. I’m in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a crew of artists and we’re scanning the artwork here, we’re sharing them, and we’re hacking on them.

You can follow along here on the MakerBot blog, the MakerBot Twitter, follow the #MET3D hashtag and the newest things on Thingiverse.

I was an art teacher in Seattle Public Schools and with my students I could only get them to a museum once a year. Together we would get on a bus, go get a tour of a museum and go back to school.

It was great to go to a museum, but it was limited. I had a wish then that I could bring the museum into the classroom. Little did I know that 6 years later, I would be in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with some of the best artists and designers in the world scanning art and sharing it on Thingiverse for the world to download and make. We’re taking it even farther than that though. I don’t think I imagined that the work could be changed, mashed-up, hacked, and remade. It is truly a brilliant and wonderful future we live in where you can go into a museum that allows photography, take lots of pictures and then use 123D Catch to turn it into a model and share it on Thingiverse.

I’m so proud of the Met. It’s my town’s museum and it’s a brave and bold institution and it is so forward thinking that they’ve invited us in to scan, hack, and make things. When I started Thingiverse, I knew that I wanted the classic sculptures of the world to be in the universal library of things, but I imagined that someone would have to pull off the ultimate heist to make that happen. Instead of having to steal the art, the Met shares the future vision of MakerBot where the greatest artworks of the world are accessible to everyone and they’ve invited us in to make history and share the art with the world.

I’m thrilled about this, but it’s just the beginning. I hope that you will explore and capture and share the great artworks of your town. Together, we can create a great database that will inspire the next generation of artists.

Tagged with , , 7 comments

7 Comments so far

  • Moceri
    June 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Congratulations Bre and team! This is the way the world was meant to be shared. I wish that I could be there to see it in action. Cheers!

  • Dr John
    June 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I’ve had limited success with 123D Catch due to strong shadows, highlights and blurry images. Could you share/point to the training that you had so I can refine my technique?

  • Bre Pettis
    June 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Yeah, you got it. We’ll get a bunch of tips and tricks up on the blog this weekend.

  • jTA
    June 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Refine this process then refine it again and make it perfect and FINALLY objects stolen from other cultures can be returned to their rightful owners – now there is the real challenge!

  • Lyle Reed
    June 3, 2012 at 1:10 am

    This is such a cool step for Makerbot Inc and Thingverse, I can’t wait to remix some art!

  • Met 3d Printer Hackathon
    June 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    […] Bre Pettis—MakerBot’s co-founder and CEO—Met 3-D is a “dream coming true.” In a post on the company’s blog, Pettis, a former art teacher, gushed […]


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