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The museum where touching heritage is recommended

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Have you ever been to a museum and wanted to touch all the pieces behind the glass? At the Manacor Museum (Mallorca, Spain) you can now do it knowing that you will touch exact replicas of the original ones. Do you want to know how we did it? Keep reading.

3d printed replicas manacor museum exhibition nestor f marques

3D printed replicas created by photogrammetric scanning the original pieces.

On May 19 a new temporary exhibition was inaugurated in the Manacor History Museum: “Here you can touch it” in which the protagonists are not the original pieces of the museum collection but their replicas created with precision thanks to the use of advanced technologies such as photogrammetric digitization and 3D printing and its combination with the precise work of hand painting. The result, a combination of tradition and avant-garde that now allows us to feel the most outstanding pieces of the museum’s collection in new ways.

prehistoric cup manacor museum nestor f marques

3D printed prehistoric cup (left) along with the original piece (right)

A total of twelve pieces selected by those who know them best were virtualized by Néstor F. Marqués using high resolution photogrammetry to obtain perfect virtual replicas of all of them. The 3D collection an be consulted already in the new website of the museum and in its newly released Sketchfab profile.

The temporary exhibition, which can be visited until July 15, 2018, is designed so that anyone who visits it can enjoy not only the sight, but also the touch of culturla heritage objects. In addition, the exhibition takes into account accessibility so that people with disabilities can also enjoy the pieces. It’s especially interesting for the blind to touch the ancient pieces that they could not otherwise imagine.

The 3D printing process is based on photogrammetric models and follows the same precepts that we discussed in the Vilamuseu accessibility project. The replicas have been made in real size to show all the pieces in great geometric and visual detail. All of them have been printed with a layer precision of between 200 and 100 microns and some, like the small oil lamps, even with 50 microns of resolution per layer to achieve reproducing even the smallest detail.

3D printed oil lamps manacor museum nestor f marques

3D printed oil lamps from the roman, islamic and late antique periods.

Finally, all the pieces have been painted by the expert hands of two restorers -Margalida Munar and Bernat Burgaya- who have managed to reproduce all the visual details of the original pieces, making the replicas, in addition to the touch, also perfect to the eye . From now on, Manacor History Museum begins a new accessible journey with its virtual and 3D printed pieces. Documentation, research and dissemination that come from the most advanced technology applied to cultural heritage.

3D printing process Manacor Museum Nestor F Marques

3D printing process of a roman marble herma (bust) of the god Bacchus.

Here you can see the guided tour I did the day of the inauguration so that everyone can enjoy the exhibition, although to fully feel the pieces you will have to go to the museum in person this summer. The video is in spanish but it’s pretty self-explanatory.

If you want to know more, make sure to check out my Sketchfab profile as well as that of the Manacor History Museum and follow us if you like it.

About the author

Néstor F. Marqués

Spanish archaeologist devoted to virtual Heritage and cultural dissemination. Passionate about ancient Rome and its culture. More info:

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