The 3D Heritage Lab collaborates with Indigenous communities on digital heritage preservation projects. We use 3D technologies, including photogrammetry and structured light scanning, to create digital replicas of Indigenous heritage that have been removed from origin communities and are currently housed in museum collections. Our work focuses on knowledge repatriation, and we work within the Indigenous Data Governance framework using a co-production of knowledge approach. 

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3D in Heritage Preservation Lab

Geography Department

University of Missouri

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Author: Charlotte Munene
Charlotte posing outside the DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delaware.
 “My transformative summer experience began with a prestigious internship through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). It was a true honor to be selected among a pool of talented individuals and this also served as testament to the dedication I have poured into my studies and career aspirations. I was immersed with working in the field of drug development with Enalare Therapeutics while also participating in the Nemours Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the Nemours Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware. This experience was both challenging and immensely rewarding, pushing me to expand my knowledge and skills in ways I had not imagined. From assisting with groundbreaking research to learning more about the field of medicine, each day presented new opportunities to learn and grow. 

A particular highlight of my internship was being recognized for my contributions through acceptance into the NEMA Scholar’s Program. This esteemed program fosters career development in the field of medicine through assisting students in publishing their first papers in peer-reviewed journals. It was humbling to receive acknowledgement and recognition from my mentors. 

As if this was not enough excitement for one summer, I also received the life-changing news of my acceptance into the Pathways to Success (PAWS) Pre-Admission Program. This program offers provisional acceptance into the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Words cannot express the overwhelming joy and gratitude I felt upon receiving this acceptance. It was the pinnacle of all the years of hard work, sacrifices, and determination to pursue my dream of becoming a physician. I am eager to embark on this new chapter as it represents fulfilling my professional dedication to help others and improve health outcomes.  

While this summer has been a whirlwind of achievements, it has also been a period of reflection and gratitude. I am deeply thankful for the steadfast support of my family, friends, mentors, and professors who have guided and encouraged me every step of the way. Their belief in my abilities has been a constant source of strength and inspiration. 

This summer has been one filled with learning, growth, and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. As I prepare for the challenges that lie ahead, I will carry the lessons and experiences I learned this summer. I am reminded that with hard work, perseverance and a firm commitment to my goals, anything is possible. Despite the long and challenging journey of becoming a physician, I am more determined than ever to make a meaningful impact in the field of medicine. I am looking forward to embracing the challenges and opportunities that await as I venture into this remarkable journey.” 

Dartmouth Coach taking our team back to Boston Airport.
In stark comparison to our last day at Dartmouth, our final day of travel was much longer, but not so busy. In 15 hours, we traversed seven states on one flight and two shuttles. With a few delays due to unfortunate weather, there were many opportunities to sit and reflect on our trip. Here, to do just that, is Abby: 

Lab team walking through Boston Airport before our flight.
As I sit here and reflect on the trip while on our journey back home, I'm reminded how wonderful an opportunity the trip was. Not many get to work as a research assistant let alone travel as a research assistant. We have been to five states on this trip. Some were just airports and some we stayed and visited. We went to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. We also were able to experience what it was like to work in various museums. We met dedicated museum professionals and made multiple connections throughout the trip. I am very glad I am a part of this journey contributing to returning Indigenous knowledge in museums to Alaska Native communities. I have a growing appreciation for everyone involved with this project. I look forward to advancing my career working with Indigenous communities on heritage preservation projects in the future. 

View of Boston Harbor from the plane.
Lab team (minus Lily) after final shuttle back to the University of Missouri from St. Louis.
Our thanks go out to those at Kawerak Inc, the University of South Florida, the Hood Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Public Museum, our home base, the University of Missouri, and the National Science Foundation.  Without any of the support provided by those at these institutions this wonderful experience could not have happened in the same way.  I’m honored to be a part of such a special opportunity, as it has set me on a path to success, and in many ways, greatly increased my appreciation for STEM science research focusing on collaborating with Indigenous communities.
Our faithful, overfilled suitcase, that has carried us through it all. Or, we have carried it though it all.
Alex taking photos of a basket for photogrammetry.
The second leg of our trip has come to an end! While our work at the Milwaukee Public Museum necessitated a final sprint to finish all our tasks, things at the Hood Museum came to a gentle, rolling stop. Our day ended earlier than we anticipated, and we broke down our set-ups in record time. Here to review our accomplishments, and the rest of our final day, is Lily: 

Research team packing up photogrammetry stations.
Today was our last day working at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. Over the last four days we were able to 3D model 54 cultural heritage items and take culturally responsive photographs of 169 pieces. In total, our 3D Digital Heritage Preservation Lab captured 3D data for 142 pieces and photographed over 560 items. Once back in Missouri, our team will begin processing the data and meet with the Knowledge Holders about the 3D models. We look forward to returning the knowledge stored within these pieces to their origin and descendant communities.  
In the afternoon, we were led on a private tour of the impressive mural, The Epic of American Civilization (1932-34) painted by Jose Clemente Orozco located in Dartmouth’s Baker Library. The mural, which is a National Historic Landmark, is a retelling of America’s history told through Orozco’s Mexican heritage perspective. Thank you to the Hood Museum of Art for the educational tour!  
To celebrate a successful week and trip the group went to dinner just across the border in Vermont. Surrounded by good company and conversation, we ate delicious food and dessert while reflecting on the past twelve days of our whirlwind adventure. We accomplished a lot in our research visits to Milwaukee Public Museum and Dartmouth’s Hood Museum of Art. We are thankful to have had a wonderful team of Research Assistants, research colleagues and collaborators, museum curators and staff, Knowledge Holders, and funding from the National Science Foundation's Arctic Social Sciences program to have made this project and research visit so successful.   
Our celebratory final dinner at Norwich Inn in Norwich, VT.
Addison, our sophomore research assistant with previous archival research experience, spent the last day looking through various archives in search of additional collection information. She found biographical information about an artist, analyzed an abundance of letters from a donor to the museum, and made connections with the Hood Museum Arctic collection and other museums, including the Milwaukee Public Museum. In addition, one of the most interesting archival finds was an auction advertisement listing the sale of cultural heritage pieces from Alaska. It is unclear if the advertisement was in connection with particular pieces within the Hood’s collection. As Addison noted, “it is always exciting to uncover new information that can be shared with the community.” 
Addison collecting information on items from the Hood Museum’s archives.
Our entire research team, from left to right: Lisa, Alex, Medeia, Brennan, Abby, Addison, Julie, Lily, Peyton, Travis, and Jorge.
View from the Ledyard Free bridge, crossing from New Hampshire to Vermont over the Connecticut River.
As a major in Geography, as are most research assistants on this trip, I can’t help but highlight the time we were able to take to enjoy the breathtaking Quechee Gorge State Park of Vermont. It was such a beautiful site that Brennan made the trip to the bottom twice! Though pictures tell a thousand words, I could tell a few million more. We arrived at the perfect time of day for the setting sun to peak through the canopy, amplifying the striking height of the pines. Due to construction, we weren’t able to get a bird’s eye view of the gorge, but from the bottom we got to observe the result of thousands of years of erosion. Hopping over the splitting stone and drinking in the muted roar of rushing water, we could enjoy the pure serenity in the air. Had it not been for the rest of our crew waiting on us, I’m not sure how long we could have spent down there. 

As much fun as we had in the reserve, our main priority as always, is data collection. Having finished another day of work, here is Brennan to offer his reflection on the different collections we worked with:

Addison, Lily, Brennan, and Peyton (behind camera) exploring Quechee Gorge State Park.
While the Arctic collections at the Milwaukee Public Museum and Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art were similar in many ways, they have some key differences that set them apart from one another. Overall, the Milwaukee Public Museum had many more pieces than the Hood Museum of Art from the Kawerak region, with close to 400 versus 170. Both collections had more pieces than we were expecting, including a number of which were simply described as being from Western Alaska or of Inupiaq origin, but not specifically from the Kawerak region. 
Also worth noting that most pieces at the Milwaukee Public Museum were archaeological with a few exceptions. The Hood Museum of Art collection was also dominantly archaeological, but it also included a number of ethnographic pieces such as a kick ball, gut parkas, a seal bags, and a seal mat. The Hood Museum of Art also had more complete pieces, such as a full set of armor (18 pieces), several parkas, and a complete bow drill set. The latter was particularly significant as the mouth piece and the drill bit frequently get separated from the bow in collections. 
While both collections were dominantly within the Kawerak region, there were some differences in exactly where pieces came from within that region. For example, the Milwaukee Public Museum contained quite a few pieces from King Island. King Island requires all researchers to complete the community’s cultural protocol application and review, and we did not work with these pieces because we do not currently have an agreement with the community yet. The Hood Museum of Art had several pieces from Unalakleet, a community often underrepresented in museum collections, and both collections contained many pieces from St Lawrence Island. 
Research team walking to downtown Hanover from the Hood Museum to have lunch.
Lisa, Julie, Alex, Ashley, and Medeia capture detailed images of items that cannot be 3D modeled due to their fragile state and materials.
Gut parkas are pliable in marine environments but dry out and become brittle in climate-controlled collections.
With the process long since memorized, we all jumped straight into modeling and capturing data. Yesterday’s meeting with the Knowledge Holders gave us our priority items, but there were still many items left to go through independently. A few of these items included highly fragile parkas and a mat. While we cannot model these delicate items, we still wanted to document the important aspects of their designs, materials, and the stitching used. 

After our break for lunch, we again seized the opportunity of our workspace being in a museum and took time to briefly tour some of the Hood Museum’s exhibits. Here to offer her insight into that experience is Addison: 

Lily and Peyton working together to take detail shots of a wooden mask.
Julie and Lisa comparing Milwaukee Public Museum collection items with those at the Hood Museum.
Our team is on our second day of conducting research at the Hood Museum, and today we got the opportunity to visit the museum’s public-facing exhibits. The exhibits invite visitor engagement in a way that I found both fascinating from a technical perspective and impactful on a personal level. I enjoy museums the most when they can bridge the gap between me - a passive viewer - and the item - which is being viewed. The exhibits I favor will resonate with me as a person instead of a consumer, encouraging me to engage with my own thoughts and experiences in relation to the displays and helping me empathize with others. There were several exhibits in the Hood Museum which achieved that for me. 

The exhibit “Unmapping” explores decolonized conceptions of cartography. I found the map & poem combination “Call a Wrecking Ball to Make a Window,” powerful. The exhibit maps varying LGBTQ+ experiences in New York City throughout the 20th century by connecting personal narratives to specific areas of the city.  It encouraged reflection on how one’s coming of age is influenced by the spaces they grow up in, and the people they first fall in love with. I also noted how in the museum’s Indigenous collections, when an artist’s name was not known to the curators, they denoted them as “artist once known,” instead of “artist unknown.” This was thought-provoking as it allowed me to think about how, although colonialism may have kept me, in the present day, from knowing this artist’s name, they were once known and loved by their own communities. I believe this phrasing influences visitors to consider the artist of the piece’s personhood, as well as their dignity and creative achievement. The third aspect of the museum that I found interesting was their use of multisensory engagement. Visitors could touch replicas of museum items to understand how the material would feel.  The museum also had audiovisual content in addition to their displays, which added another level of sensory engagement. 

The exhibit I found most moving was a visual poem by Enrique Martinez Celaya entitled The Grief of Almost. This exhibit was put together by Jami C. Powell, the museum’s Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Indigenous Art. The poem is told through several paintings displayed in a circular manner around a large room. In the center of the room is a suspended biplane, painted like the night sky. The plane is hovering over a statue of a tree. On the tree, hang pieces of paper, which contain poems written by the museum’s guests. The Grief of Almost explores how hope, death, catastrophe and reinvention occur in cyclical natures throughout our lives. It is lightly influenced by Robert Frost’s poetry, with one noting similarities to “two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” or, “Apple-Picking.” According to text with the display, the author encourages viewers not to think about what the poem means, but instead, what it means to them. I walked around the room and when I reached the climax of the poem, an image of an apple tree surrounded by both cosmic storms and a hopeful rainbow, I paused. I backed up to get a better view of the painting, and saw the words, “Everything is waiting for you.” 

Those five words resonated with me in such a profound way, I even wrote a response poem, which hopefully has now become part of the exhibit. I took those words with me into the next day, and I think they will stick with me for a while. They were exactly what I needed to hear at the moment. It is so wonderful how art can do that for people! 

I am encouraged to pursue museum work because of its impact on people - both individually and on a community level. If done right, museums can be spaces of art, growth, and human connection. That is why it is so important that we engage with communities ethically. My experience demonstrates that museums are meaningful spaces. However, it is sobering to consider that museums can also be spaces of distrust due to colonial legacies.  I was reminded at the Hood Museum why it is important to continue working to ensure museums and other cultural institutions are benefiting everyone, not just one group of people. 

Addison poses in front of the King Arthur Trail sign.
Panorama of photogrammetry station set ups at the Hood Museum of Art.
Having gotten a preview of the building exterior the night prior, we were excited to return and enter our new workspace for the next week. While our staggered arrivals meant group introductions were skipped, we met the individuals we would be working with throughout the week and got comfortable in the areas they set aside for us. While the process of setting up is very familiar to us research assistants, here is Abby to walk you through the rest of our day’s experience: 

Peyton, Brennan, Addison, Alex, Lily, and Abby at their various stations.
It is a new week at a new museum! Everyone had a wonderful time in Milwaukee, but we are excited for the next part of the trip. We started the new journey on Monday morning at the Hood Museum of Art in New Hampshire. The day began with quick introductions and shortly after we started setting up our stations. Brennan, Jorge, and Travis have their own room for structured light scanning as the blue light projected onto the pieces we are scanning works better in the dark. Lily, Peyton, Alex, Addison and I have our own room for capturing 2D photos and photos for photogrammetry. We were able to use our experience from Milwaukee to decide what works and does not work when setting up our stations. Once we were situated, we headed to the room where the collection pieces were placed for us to learn about the heritage pieces. After a quick break for lunch, we started preparing for the meeting with Knowledge Holders from the Bering Strait region. With the help from the staff at the Hood Museum of Art, we obtained an efficient system for presenting the items. The meeting lasted two hours, where Knowledge Holders gave an insight on what they would like to see 3D modeled. They also shared their knowledge of what the items we are working with might have been used for. It was a busy and exciting first day and we are looking forward to what the week has in store for us! 

Lab team and Hood Museum team coordinate to display items for Elders.
Featured in these images are Brennan, Lisa, and Dr. Julie Raymond-Yakoubian from our team, as well as Ashley Offill, Curator of Collections, and Emily Andrews, NAGPRA research assistant from the Hood Museum.
View from airplane window on flight from Milwaukee to Boston.
While all good things must come to an end, we are eagerly anticipating the second part of our adventure. In preparing for our travels, our luggage pile seems to have mysteriously doubled, as has the weight of our backpacks. Though the latter may very well be the weight of 11 hours of travel. Regardless, we are ready to make our way to Hanover, New Hampshire to begin work at the Hood Museum of Art. This time around we traded an extra layover for a coach bus, taking us the three hours northward from Boston to Dartmouth College. 

Lab team gathered waiting for Dartmouth Coach to arrive, our total luggage pile, and on the Dartmouth Coach driving through Boston.
Though the coach's generous amenities allowed time for our group to process information and complete other work, the incredibly scenery lining our route made it difficult to concentrate. After a beautiful, and moderately productive drive, we ended up in the heart of Dartmouth’s campus. We made our way towards the entrance of the Hood Museum as it offered a landmark for our taxi drivers to identify. It also gave us the opportunity to briefly tour downtown Hanover and plan out the rest of our week. Finally, we were able to drop our luggage in our hotel rooms and prepare to meet those at the museum the following day. 

View of a downtown side-street taken while exploring Hanover, NH.
Lab group posing under arch in front of Milwaukee City Hall.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, which is why we are staying an extra day! Well, not quite. Due to our travel schedule, we have an extra day that we can’t spend collecting data. With our newfound free time, we took to the city for a bus tour of Milwaukee’s architecture. In our short trip, we had the wonderful opportunity to see downtown’s beautiful buildings. There was no shortage of stunning scenery, and so we all took interest in seeing what the city looked like in its entirety. In an all-too-short hour and a half, we got our first real look at Lake Michigan’s shoreline, enjoyed an outdoor art gallery, and returned to a prior dinner spot – the Milwaukee Public Market. One day in a city to spend as a tourist left many decisions to be made regarding how to spend our afternoon. We decided to divide and conquer Milwaukee’s museum scene, not quite able to step away from the work for too long. 

Photos of tour stops: Lake Michigan view point, Black Cat Alley gallery, and Milwaukee Public Market.
Medeia and I decided to grab coffee/tea and explore the Grohmann museum, operated by the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Titled “Man at Work”, the exhibits largely consisted of the development on different areas of human labor over our history. As an art museum afficionado, I was pleasantly surprised at the uncommon theme and would recommend it to anyone visiting the city. 

Peyton posing with a portrait titled “The Geographer” by Willem Drost, an apprentice to Rembrandt.
Group number two consisted of Abby, Brennan, Addison, and Lisa. Abby volunteered to re-tell the first half of their adventures: 

Brennan, Addison, Lisa and I grouped together for our free day. After the bus tour we headed toward the Historic German part of town. We ate at a restaurant called Copper, and following a delicious meal, we walked over to the Milwaukee City Library. The beautiful architecture of the building offered a nice shelter from the rain. At the Milwaukee Public Library Lisa asked to see special collections, and they were able to show us different maps, including pictograph maps of Wisconsin and the United States, as well as a demographic map of Old Milwaukee. 
Addison, Abby, and Brennan posing on a staircase in the Milwaukee Public Library entrance atrium.
Addison’s specialty is archival research, and so the Milwaukee Public Library presented a unique opportunity. Here she is to tell you all about it: 
After a week of hard work, yesterday our team was able to get our first day of leisure in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What did we do with it? Well, we educated ourselves, of course. We are first and foremost researchers after all. After a bus tour of the city, our group was able to visit Special Collections at the Milwaukee Public Library. While there, we discovered some interesting archival information about the very museum we have been working in all week! We also chatted with the archivists who were happy to tell us more about the history of the Milwaukee Public Museum. As it turns out, the museum’s original building was what is now the library. It is always interesting to me to learn about the histories of buildings and public places.        
Last, but certainly not least, is group number three, Alex and Lily. Of whom, Lily is here to recap her adventures: 
After the bus tour, Alex and I went to the Milwaukee Art Museum. We thoroughly enjoyed the contemporary art exhibits. Later that evening, I met up with a friend from college and attended a local concert. It was a fantastic concert, and we watched as fireworks exploded over Lake Michigan as the band performed. It was a great day exploring Milwaukee. 
Lily enjoying the interior of Milwaukee Art Museum's "Burke Brise Soleil", or "The Wings".
Research team stands in front of wooly mammoth skeleton display in Milwaukee Public Museum lobby
Despite having spent the vast majority of our time this week in the building, we had yet to see any of what the Milwaukee Public Museum’s exhibits had to offer. Our generous host, liaison within the museum, and Head of Collections, Dawn Schere Thomae, led us to the planetarium to enjoy a show. After exploring the night sky, we took an all-too-brief tour of some of the exhibits and dioramas open to the public. 

Brennan, Addison, and Abby touring a museum exhibit.
Following our excursion, we headed back to our workspace to finish up data collection. In a mad dash to the finish line, we all doubled our previous paces and finalized our projects. All in all, we collected information for 44 structured light models, 46 photogrammetry models, and 337 2D photos of items. Having met, and exceeded our goals, we said our farewells and left the museum for the last time. Here to offer her reflection on our time spent in Milwaukee is Abby: 

Today was the last day at the Milwaukee Public Museum. In the morning, we were able to watch the Milwaukee night sky at the museum's planetarium. After the show, we all had a chance to walk around the three levels of exhibition space, including the Arctic gallery. The rest of the day was dedicated to finishing up our work and getting everything done. Lily, Peyton and I were taking photos to create simple models in reality capture that can be subsequently combined with the models Jorge and Brennan made with structured light. Addison and Alex were working hard to obtain 2D photos of every item in the collection. Towards the end, Lisa and Medeia helped make that happen by taking pictures with their phones so that we have every collection piece from the Kawerak region documented. 
Lily, Alex, and Abby finishing up their final photos.
Everyone at the MPM was helpful and gave us an opportunity to make connections and learn about different career paths in the museum world. Working with MPM was only the first part of our trip. We are looking forward to working with the staff at the Hood Museum next week. We are all appreciative of meeting other museum professionals from different heritage institutions across the US. On this trip, the University of Missouri is working with Kawerak Inc., University of South Florida, The University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Hood Museum of Art, and the Milwaukee Public Museum. In preparation for our research visit, all participants worked together to help sort through the museum collections and discuss digital documentation strategies. All project participants intentionally worked together as we recognized our shared goal of knowledge repatriation of Arctic heritage pieces. 

Research team stands gathered in the MPM anthropology department around their equipment suitcase.
Medeia examining an item while Lily looks on, Lisa searches the museum’s collection, and Addison takes 2D photos of items.
For most of the team, we jumped right back in where we left off, ready for another day of documenting the collection. On a more exciting note, Medeia and Lisa had been looking through the museum’s more notable, and delicate items. One such example is the gut parka, featured in the image below: 

Lab team working together to carefully take detailed photos of a delicate gut parka.
Attempting photogrammetry on items such as these risks maintain their condition and integrity, so we are limited in what data we can capture without damaging the item. Our compromise was to take culturally responsive photographs of important details that are of interest to the communities we work with. 

While yesterday was our second full day of data collection, no momentum was lost as we entered day three. Today, Alex joined the 2D photo team, and the rest of the group carried on with our projects. With a few days of practice under our belts, we returned to our groove and had a calm, productive workday. Here to give you additional insight into the process of structured light scanning, another 3D modeling technology, is Brennan: 

Brennan, Peyton, Abby, and Alex each at their stations, collecting data for modeling.
On this trip, my role within the team is to utilize structured light scanning to create models of the items. Whereas photogrammetry converts two-dimensional photos into three-dimensional models, structured light scanning skips out on the two-dimensional middleman and actively generates a three-dimensional model on the spot using blue light technology. This makes 3D modeling a much more intuitive process, allowing one to create models quicker and more consistently. While structured light scanning may not provide the color quality of photogrammetry, it is capable of producing much higher resolution textures and more accurate structures. It is for these reasons that we combine the two methods, resulting in the best possible models. 
Structured light scanning requires patience, a keen attention to detail, and a steady hand. However, on this trip, I have learned that it also takes a great deal of resourcefulness. I was struggling to scan the interior of a harpoon weight when Jorge, a master of structured light from the University of South Florida, came into the room. He grabbed a paperclip from the desk, folded it into a stand, placed the item on it, winked at me, and walked out. Lo and behold, when I aimed the scanner at the harpoon weight, the angle created by the paperclip allowed me to scan the entirety of the interior.

RA Takeaway: "Lab work and research is great, and having the opportunity to travel out into the field and participate in such a special and important project has been an honor. I think field work is a vital aspect of truly understanding your research and its impacts."
- Brennan Meyerhoff
The research team processing data and drafting models in the hotel’s lobby.

Research team stands gathered around artifact table while Lisa explains the use of an item.
Yesterday’s events certainly got everyone excited to get to work! Without a moment to spare, we got comfortable at each of our stations and began our various tasks. The photogrammetry crew consists of myself, Lily, and Abby. Addison is taking 2D photos of the museum’s collection. Dr. Travis Doering and Jorge Gonzalez are from the Center for Digital Heritage and Geospatial Information at the University of South Florida Libraries and are structured light scanning with Brennan.  

Meanwhile, Lisa Ellana, Alex, and Medeia began sorting through the complete collection of Bering Strait artifacts for potential models. In the following section, Lily is here to provide additional information on our day-to-day responsibilities: 

Addison, Brennan and Jorge working at their various stations. 2D photos and structured light scanning respectively.

Today was the second day of capturing 3D data! Our 3D Heritage team has captured data for 72 cultural heritage items. We used structured light scanning on 8 items, photogrammetry on 5 pieces, and captured culturally responsive photographs of 64 items. 

The 3D technologies that we use are photogrammetry and structured light scanning. Photogrammetry is the process of taking a series of hundreds of photographs to record object size, shape, color, and texture data, whereas structured light scanning uses blue light technology to measure the surface structure of an item. We are beginning the process of combing both technologies to create a comprehensive colored and textured model. 

How do we know which items to model? We asked the Knowledge Holders for guidance and permission about what types of cultural heritage items and specific pieces they would like 3D modeled. After items are selected, they are pulled from storage and 2D photographs are captured. Then the item is 3D scanned using a portable handheld surface scanner, we use an Artec Space Spider. This process is fast and efficient as the data is generated automatically right in the Artec software. However, processing photogrammetry data is a different story. Capturing photogrammetry photos, aligning the images in a 3D software, and overlaying the final color and texture information might take hours! It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time to produce a great model. 

Earlier this week, the Milwaukee Public Museum media team set up a time lapse of our 3D data capture and interviewed three members of our group about the project. The interview and time-lapse will be available through their social media later this summer. We look forward to sharing the social media post with you! 
RA Takeaway:  
“I am appreciative of my chance to view items that were once used and cherished by Alaskan ancestors. They are truly breathtaking.” – Abby Bailey 
Addison holding a throwing board, one of the items being modeled.
Alex and Lisa selecting items to be modeled from the larger collection.

Raring to get started, our day began at 8:30 AM with an exciting round of in-person introductions. After having spent months emailing we are united at last with the staff from the Milwaukee Public Museum and collaborators from University of South Florida. Wasting no time, we hopped straight into leading a workshop our lab team designed to introduce photogrammetry and offer the chance to practice 3D Modeling in Reality Capture. Having written the curriculum the week prior, anticipation was high for us Research Assistants. We are all well versed in the workflow of photogrammetry at this point in the project, and we’re also aware that the smallest details can derail the process fairly easily. Thankfully, our extensive planning, and perhaps good fortune, led us to victory with a successful and timely finish to our participants' practice models. Many thanks go out to said participants as their patience and curiosity made the experience extremely rewarding for us. 

Introductions, setting up, and the workshop only took us halfway through the day’s agenda. The second half consisted of providing an introductory overview of the museum’s collection to view over Zoom for the nine Kawerak Knowledge Holders. With their comments, insight, and guidance, we were able to identify items of interest for 3D modeling. This helped us with selecting our first future 3D models, and we also discussed heritage item groups/themes to search for in the larger collection that we did not have the ability to display in today’s meeting. With our first priority items tagged, we packed up our laptops and got ready to start modeling the following day. 

RA Takeaway: “It was really exciting to get to meet so many different people in the museum field, who are all working towards the same goal. It’s very rewarding to work in the field I am pursuing, especially as an undergraduate.” 
– Addison Vallier 

We are on the road! And also, on the tarmac! With help from two cars, two planes, and our own twelve feet, we’ve landed 500 miles away in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Putting aside brief turbulence, our travels went off without a hitch. Our pile of equipment has made it safely to destination number one.

After a swift twelve hours of planes, bus and uber rides, we met up with fellow collaborators, Alex Taitt from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Lisa Ellanna from Kawerak Inc., for dinner and catch-up. While we are certainly happy to set down our suitcases, we are equally excited for another full day tomorrow as we begin work at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Our main goals this week at the MPM are to capture 2D photos of their entire collection of Kawerak region artifacts and to create 3D models of high-interest artifacts. We will be using photogrammetry and structured light scanning during our trip to collect data for these 3D models.  Tomorrow, nine Knowledge Holders from the Kawerak region of Alaska will guide us in selecting heritage pieces for 3D modeling. 

RA Takeaway: “We made it!” - Peyton Smith

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