3D scans to accompany British Museum spotlight tour - Museums Association

3D scans to accompany British Museum spotlight tour

Collaboration with Sketchfab creates new digital content for ancient objects
Digital tours
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Rebecca Atkinson
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A close-up of a 3D model of an Athenian amphora, produced by Sketchfab
A close-up of a 3D model of an Athenian amphora, produced by Sketchfab

A British Museum tour exploring the legend of Troy will feature 3D scans of objects that visitors can access through mobile devices in-situ or at home.

Four objects from the BP exhibition Troy: myth and reality, which was shown at the London national November 2019 to March 2020, will tour to Reading, Surrey and Dundee between September 2021 and August 2022. Each object focuses on the stories of Helen, the Greek queen abducted by the Trojan prince Paris, and Achilles, the Greek hero killed in the subsequent 10-year war.

The British Museum has collaborated with Sketchfab, a platform sharing 3D, virtual and augmented reality content, to provide close access to the objects. These include an Etruscan urn that portrays Helen being led away from Greece, and an Athenian amphora depicting Achilles exacting revenge on the Trojan prince Hector after the death of his lover Patroclus.  

A animation of the 3D scan of the touring Etruscan urn
An animation of the 3D scan of the touring Athenian amphora

Two artworks – Pietro Testa’s The birth and infancy of Achilles (c.1648-50) comprising a composite scene of episodes from Achilles’ early life, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Cassandra (1861, reworked 1867) showing Helen surrounded by the Trojan characters – will accompany the ancient objects on their tour.

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“Following the success of the Troy exhibition at the British Museum, it is very gratifying to be able to bring an exciting selection of related objects to audiences around the UK thanks to the Museum’s National Programmes,” said Victoria Donnellan, the co-curator of the exhibition.

“The ancient story of Helen and Achilles is a fascinating one and I’m so pleased we can portray the various facets of beauty and heroism through these rich objects, especially with the 3D offering.”

Thomas Flynn, the cultural heritage lead at Sketchfab, said: “This latest collaboration for Troy: beauty and heroism is a wonderful example of how online 3D can help cultural organisations reach and engage with national and international audiences in modern and forward-thinking ways.”

The British Museum Spotlight Loan Troy: beauty and heroism will be on display:

  • Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, Reading (21 September – 12 December 2021)
  • Haslemere Educational Museum, Surrey (10 February – 8 May 2022)
  • The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum, Dundee (19 May – 14 August 2022)

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