1 Year of Public Domain 3D on Sketchfab

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It has been exactly a year since Sketchfab launched its public domain initiative for cultural heritage 3D models so I wanted to give you a quick update on how the program is going.

CC0 by Thomas Flynn on Sketchfab

Additions to the CC0 Public Domain Dedication

Over the last year, we’ve added another 200+ 3D models to the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication, bringing the total up to 1,976. ?

Notable ongoing contributors to the growing collection are:

If you represent a cultural organisation and wish to begin making your 3D models available under the CC0 public domain license, please get in touch. If you’re new to open access 3D for cultural heritage please check out glam3d.org for an introduction to 3D, open access and copyright.

Currently Sketchfab’s CC0 dedication is only open to cultural heritage organisations. If we get enough interest from individuals and non-heritage organizations, we will consider opening up the feature more broadly. Register your interest as a feature request here.


Since being added to the public domain, models from the collection have been downloaded almost two hundred thousand times! 191,509 downloads, to be exact.

Here’s a collection of the past year’s 10 most downloaded CC0 3D models:

Top 10 CC0 Downloads 2020-21 by Thomas Flynn on Sketchfab

The exact download numbers for those of you who are interested 🙂

  1. 4,702 – Apollo 11 Command Module (Combined) by The Smithsonian Institution
  2. 1,611 – Löwe von Asparn by www.noe-3d.at
  3. 1,410 – Venus de Milo (Aphrodite of Milos) by SMK – National Gallery of Denmark
  4. 1,389Tibetan Amoghasiddhi Buddha, 13th C CE by Minneapolis Institute of Art
  5. 1,368Vertebrate: Tyrannosaurus rex skull (MOTE) by Digital Atlas of Ancient Life
  6. 1,331 – Entrance Gates to Menlo Castle – Co. Galway by galway3d
  7. 1,272 – Tholos do Escoural by Morbase | Museu Virtual
  8. 1,204 – 1970.16 Neck Amphora by Cleveland Museum of Art
  9. 1,101 – Bønhústoft, Leirvík, Føroyar by Faroe Islands National Museum
  10. 958 – Buste d’Auguste couronné de chêne by Musée Saint-Raymond

How 3D models have been re-used

Anybody can re-use public domain content in any way they choose, without the need to seek permission or give credit to the person or organisation who dedicated their work to the public domain. This can make it pretty hard to track down all the cool things that people create with the excellent 3D models in the CC0 collection, but we’ve found a few examples that we think you’ll agree are pretty cool.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve downloaded and used some CC0 3D models from Sketchfab in your own project!

3D Remixes

CC0 Remix by Thomas Flynn on Sketchfab

3D creators have been leaning into the CC0 collection as a resource to remix and build upon artistic works from across the ages. Above you can check out a fun remix by Sketchfab Master /warkarma.

Some other notable artists re-using CC0 content from Sketchfab are Blender GuruDucky3D, and Ian Hubert.

Holographic Display


Futuristic digital display manufacturer holusion.com used models from the CC0 collection to give us a glimpse into a possible future for experiencing museum collections.

AR Museum Snapchat Filter

Phil says, “I used the aesthetic of old Victorian museums in England, such as the Pitt Rivers and Natural History museums in Oxford, and the Natural History Museum in London.” Learn more at philcohn.com/museum or try out the museum yourself in Snapchat by scanning this snapcode (click the image to make it bigger and easier to scan):

Online Education

Japanese archaeologist Atsushi Noguchi and 3D specialist Atsushi Nakabayashi have used CC0 3D models to help teach 3D animation, rendering, and uploading to Sketchfab in their online workshop.

VR Jigsaw Puzzles

The team over at pecopecogame.com have been using CC0 3D models to power unique virtual reality jigsaw puzzles!

Press and accolades

It has been great to see how different audiences and news outlets have responded to the CC0 program. Here are some highlights:

If you represent a cultural organisation and want to know more about public domain 3D, please drop us a message via museums@sketchfab.com.

About the author

Thomas Flynn

Community & Cultural Heritage Lead at Sketchfab.

Expert in 3D scanning, photogrammetry, online publishing & dissemination.

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