Website to View 3D Models of Artifacts in the Smithsonian

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Smithsonian X 3D is a free website which lets you view and print 3D models of artifacts found in the Smithsonian museum. The website is a result of collaboration between the Smithsonian institute and Autodesk. This project is a new form of digitization where a specimen is scanned and 3D data is collected. This 3D data is then made available on the website with the history and significance of the artifact along with it. Educators can use this 3D data to educate their students and can even ask students to explore these 3D models to discovery things on their own.

The website is just amazing to see, as there are so many historically significant models that you can now see in 3D. I was amazed to see the entire Apollo 11 Command Module in 3D along with the facts about it. It was enlightening and I could relate to the data more as I was seeing everything in 3D. The screenshot below shows you the home page of the website.

Viewing a object in 3D feels like you are actually there looking at the object. You can explore it, and read all historical data about it. When you go to the browse models page you will see lots of artifacts listed on the page, as seen in the screenshot below.

Here you can browse and select a artifact to view, or if you are looking for something specific then you can also search for it using the search box given. Clicking on a artifact image, will open up its 3D model like shown in the screenshot below.

This is a 3D model of Amelia Earhart’s flight suit. When you land on this page, you will be shown control that you can use to move around and manipulate the 3D model. You can view the image in full screen mode from the options given on the left side. The very first option on the left menu is taking a guided tour of the model that you are seeing. You will be shown information step by step and same things will be pointed out in the 3D model as well. You can also share a snapshot of the model that you are seeing presently. There is a article reader option which can be turned on or off. This option will show you related articles to the model you are viewing.

There are some editing tools available with the model as well, which will let you manipulate the model in your own way. You can change the material properties like its color, you can change the lighting on the model and the lighting positions, change the background and grid color, etc.

You can also print these 3D models if you like. The 3D models can be downloaded and can be printed through a 3D printer. The data can be downloaded in a zip file format.

Features of this website to view 3D models of artifacts:

  • View 3D models of various artifacts from the Smithsonian museum.
  • Move around and explore artifacts.
  • Read about historical significance of artifacts.
  • Take a guided tour of the artifact you are viewing.
  • Share a snapshot of the artifact.
  • Manipulate the artifacts with editing tools provided.
  • Download the 3D model of a artifact.
  • Print 3D model using a 3D printer.


Smithsonian X 3D is a amazing website for curators, educators, and students. It can be used by anyone who is interested in historical artifacts and viewing them in 3D just gives you a feeling like you have been there. Teachers can teach students in a unique way by asking them to explore these 3D models and create assignments around them. This 3D digitization of artifacts is great for anyone with interest in historical artifacts. So if you a historian and want to see and know about a artifact, then definitely check this website out.

Check out Smithsonian X 3D website here.

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