In 2014, Johnathan Beck started “Scan the World,” a project created to serve the purpose of archiving historical artifacts from around the world using 3D scanning & 3D printing technologies. The idea started when Beck was studying photogrammetry and learned about 3D scanning and the technologies abilities. After working with the technology on some of this own work, Beck decided to contact MyMiniFactory, a company that was looking to enlarge its 3D model database. It was at MyMiniFactory where Beck noticed the lack of objects with cultural heritage, such as sculptures. According to Beck,

“There was the concept of how can we preserve culture, or share culture in this new tangible way. I thought, because sculptures are probably the most accessible thing, and people like to go to museums, and people do like to study objects there, that it would be the most easy means of contributing to the archive.

3D Models from “Scan the World” of Christian Levett’s collection at Mougins Museum of Classical Art in France

After noticing this significant shortage of historical artifacts, Beck would begin the “Scan the World” initiative. Today, the project has grown immensely, containing over 5,000 3D models from about 50 different museums across the world. According to Beck, there are an additional thousand or so models still being processed that will soon be available. He has also begun to reach out to private collectors with hopes of obtaining 3D models of their collections that are otherwise, fairly inaccessible to the general public.

Beck now hopes to have his “Scan the World” initiative take another step forward with the 3D printing of all 5,500+ 3D models for display in an exhibit.