A 3D image of a mummy from the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities

Medelhavsmuseet, Sweden

Thomas Rydell, 15.08.2013
As part of the development of a new permanent Egyptian exhibition at Medelhavsmuseet (the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities) in Stockholm, we are making the collection of mummies available in digital form for the first time.

The museum collection will be digitised in 3D using Autodesk 3D reality capture technology and made available to museum visitors through an interactive exhibition experience using the Inside Explorer table – an interactive visual tool developed by the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT in Norrköping, Sweden.

This table enables visitors to peel aware layers, rotate, zoom and cut through subjects virtually, and reveal hidden interior detail that has not been previously possible.

Six mummies from the museum collection were scanned using a combination of computer tomography medical imaging and 3D reality capture technology. The results will be visualised using the Inside Explorer table, which will form part of the new permanent exhibition opening in February.

The result of this project will be an interactive hands-on experience that allows museum visitors to explore the mummies with the same tools that researchers and scientists used to make the original discoveries.

Through a collaboration (with Faro, a 3D design software company, Autodesk and a 3D-measurement technology company) the intricate surfaces, colours and textures of the mummy, cartonnage and the sarcophagus have been surface scanned using a combination of photogrammetry and laser scanning reality capture methods.

The data captured is then processed with Autodesk ReCap software and the result is a textured surface mesh with extreme detail down to micrometre level.

This project aims to set a new standard for how museums work with 3D digitisation and interactive visualisation to make collections more accessible to other museums, researchers and museum visitors.

Elna Nord, the exhibition producer at Medelhavsmuseet, says “The technology will enable our visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the men and women inside the mummy wrappings.

"Layer by layer, the visitor can unwrap the mummy and gain knowledge of the individual, his or her living conditions and beliefs in eternal life. Through this technology, the mummies convey and promote knowledge of our past as human beings.”

Thomas Rydell is the project leader and studio director at the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT at Visualisation Centre C in Norrköping, Sweden