Digital technologies - such as 3D scanning and 3D printing – are a gateway to a whole new world of applications for cultural heritage: Interactive displays in museums, virtual and augmented reality of heritage sites, replication valuable objects for tactile experiences, high resolution 3D models for research, simulation of lost polychrome decoration and monitoring, preservation and archiving of digital models are just a few examples.
3D technologies also allow searching for innovative ways to restore losses in complex or fragile objects. In similarity with the aforementioned examples, they also limit the handling of objects and thus reducing the risk of more damage as the reconstruction process, traditionally executed by moulding and casting or by sculpting directly on the object, can now be completed digitally in CAD-software.
Left: Digital model of an Unterweissbach figurine. Right: a draft print for a missing violin.
Nevertheless, a new field of research implies knowledge shortcomings, as well as concerns about applying these novel methods and materials. Conservator-restorers active in the field have usually not received training to employ these novel technologies, and often do not have access to the fitting and costly equipment.
The ongoing fWO funded research project of Lien Acke on 3D technology (2019-2022) aims at making these technologies more available and comprehensible for the conservator-restorer. Based upon literature, practical experience and relevant case studies she seeks to provide a framework which can assist them in the process of loss compensation, by guiding them through the steps and possibilities.
Promotors: prof. Jouke Verlinden and Stijn Verwulgen (PO), Kristel De Vis (ARCHES)