Artec Eva helps blind to experience tactile museum exhibits

The experience of going to a museum is always more fulfilling if you can interact with the exhibits on display. But this experience is usually limited or denied for blind and visually impaired people because of the “Look but don’t touch” policy that is common at the vast majority of history museums and galleries mainly due to the fragile nature of the artifacts.

3D technology is revolutionizing museum experience as Artec’s Italian partners, 3DZ, have embarked on 3D digitizing exhibits with Artec’s Eva scanner at two local museums, the National Etruscan Museum of Marzabotto and the National Archaeological Museum of Ferrara. The 3D models obtained with the Eva are 3D printed using materials as close as possible to the original, such as ceramic, marble and bronze, to enable blind and visually impaired museum-goers to literally feel the shape and texture of historical exhibits.

An attic krater made of ceramic found at the necropolis of Spina, III century B.C., National Archaeological Museum of Ferrara, Italy.

Working with cultural heritage is nothing new for 3DZ – in 2014 they co-founded Cultural Association 3D Lab to launch the 3D ArcheoLab project, aimed at creating online 3D galleries, Braille tactile cards and audio guides for those physically unable to visit museums.

3DZ, Artec’s Italian partners, 3D print replicas of artifacts for local museums, creating tactile collections for blind and visually impaired people.

Giulio Bigliardi of 3D ArcheoLab says Artec Eva is giving access to a whole new world of tactile experiences for blind and visually impaired people. “We believe that access to our cultural heritage is everyone’s right, but we know that unfortunately most of our museums are not yet equipped to guarantee the full fruition of their collections to people who are blind or visually impaired,” Bigliardi says.

An Etruscan cinerary urn made of terracotta depicting Echetlos, an Athenian hero, crushing enemies with his plow during the Battle of Marathon, II-I centuries B.C., National Archaeological Museum of Umbria, Italy.

Together with tactile cards and audio guides, Artec Eva is bringing the past to life for many who previously were unable to enjoy this cultural experience.