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Dubai’s Museum of the Future Plans for Enormous 3D Printed Database of Ancient Heritage Monuments

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

Dubai is known as a city of riches and luxury beyond most of our wildest dreams. As the most populated city in the Arab Emirates and one of the very most expensive places to live in the world, billionaires abound, propelling along a huge global economy and an important center of finance.

It would certainly be expected that the most futuristic technology available is a big player in this city as well–especially where people expect to snap their fingers and have everything done immediately, in the most fantastic proportions and in some of the most fantastical edifices ever seen. The incredible out-of-this-world architecture, culture, and heritage of city, which trails along the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, are a critical element in their society, with museums held in great esteem as part of preserving their Middle Eastern history.

Earlier this year, we reported on the impending construction of $136 million Museum of the Future, to be completed in Dubai by 2017. Using the technology of today and the future, 3D printing, as one of the main innovative construction components, the facility is meant to operate not just as a museum, but also an innovation lab and invention hub with a focus on education, health, smart cities, energy, and transportation.

HE Mohammed Al Gergawi , Vice Chairman of Dubai Museum Of The Future Foundation and Roger Michael , Executive Director Of The Institute Of the Digital Archaeology (PRNewsFoto/Dubai Museum of the Future)

HE Mohammed Al Gergawi , Vice Chairman of Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation and Roger Michael , Executive Director of the Institute for Digital Archaeology [Photo: PRNewsFoto/Dubai Museum of the Future]

Now, as they continue to plan the vision of the Museum of the Future, part of their long-term strategy is going to involve forging partnerships to preserve ancient heritage monuments across the region, using 3D technology.

We’ve followed other museums previously around the world, engaged in similar practices, using 3D scanning to complete quite enormous projects in preserving the images of artifacts and structures, such as that of eastern orthodox religious artifacts. Most of these projects we’ve seen previously, headed up by companies like Artec3D and Threeding, have then allowed files to be shared and downloaded by the public, but there is not yet an indication as to whether something like that may be the case with the Dubai project.

With this partnership, several entities will come together:

  • Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
  • UK-based Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) – a joint venture between Harvard University and the University of Oxford

“Extremists want to impose a different vision on the world. They want to tell us that there is no memory, that there is no culture, that there is no heritage. We join hands with Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation to participate in the effort to oppose the extremists’ vision of the future and to help convey the history to future generations,” said Irinia Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

According to administrators at the foundation for the facility, the plan for the Museum of the Future is to take over a million archaeological images to be maintained in a digital database. Even more exciting is that for the process of doing so, they will distribute 5,000 3D cameras to partners and volunteers to take these images that will then be cataloged until the 3D printing commences.4

“It is important to preserve heritage sites as they serve as a source of inspiration for innovators and pioneers to build the future,” said Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Managing Director of Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation. “What we are doing today is part of our efforts to give back to the history of our region and build on the achievements of our rich past.”

This is also a way to protect the pieces for posterity in the case of any threat or disaster, obviously, and is also the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The partnership agreement has been signed by Al Gergawi and Dr Roger Michel, Executive Director of the Institute for Digital Archaeology.

dubai museum

[Image: Dubai Museum of the Future]

Archaeologists from Harvard will be supervising, along with the University of Oxford in cooperation with UNESCO.  Along with the museum, IDA has already created a portal, along with media and social networking plans so that the campaign will be well publicized, with all the appropriate information provided to the public.

“With gracious support from the Dubai Museum Of The Future Foundation, the Institute for Digital Archaeology will redouble its efforts to restore to the landscape of the Middle East the great symbols of our shared cultural heritage that have been destroyed or defaced,” said Dr Roger Michel, the Executive Director of the Institute for Digital Archaeology. “These symbols, the architecture and objects of the ancient world, speak powerfully to what unites East and West, and so are needed now more than ever. The UAE is a great friend of this important work.”

Making this a comprehensive project all around, there will be educational initiatives associated with the partnership and project as they build the huge database to begin 3D printing the models which should prove to be a magnificent representation of their dedication to their heritage and commitment to their global responsibility for future generations.

Is this a good idea in your opinion?  Let us know in the Museum of the Future Forum thread on 3DPB.comn.

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