By Dr. Mark Osterman, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, USA
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens will present the museum’s work funded by a Knight Foundation Museums and Technology grant. Through this project Vizcaya created a model for adapting 3D documentation technologies to interactive experiences that expand the community’s access to our collections and increase opportunities for discovery. Bridging established preservation technologies with interpretive digital technologies we created an innovative approach to conservation, accessibility and interpretation.
Related to conservation 3D documentation provides a permanent archive for predictive modeling, digital restoration, and other conservation efforts. Moving forward this data can be used to recreate, reimagine, visualize, and even reconstruct objects and architectural elements for visitor engagement and research purposes. For accessibility, 3D documentation and printing not only allows the original architectural element or object to be preserved and safe from close contact, but also enables visitors to be more active and engaged participants in exploring these elements. Moreover, the touchable, 3D replicas will transform the experience for visitors with vision impairments or other related disabilities. For interpretation, using 3D documentation and interactive technology allows visitors to freely explore and learn about aspects of the museum. As visitors virtually explore parts of Vizcaya they learn about its history and narratives along with ideas related to conservation and sustainability.
My name is Mark Osterman. I am a practicing artist with a background in museum education and a doctorate in Learning Technologies focusing on digital literacy. I work at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark constructed in 1916 in Miami, FL on the shores of Biscayne Bay. At Vizcaya we preserve the estate of agricultural industrialist James Deering to engage the public in learning through the arts, history and the environment. Vizcaya looks for ways to effectively enhance, leverage and embed technology to transform the way visitors experience the museum on site and off.
Laser Scanning: The process of capturing digital information about the shape of an object with equipment that uses a laser or light to measure the distance between the scanner and the object. 3D scanning can capture data of very small objects all the way up to full size aircraft and buildings. Photogrammetry: Photogrammetry refers to the practice of deriving 3D measurements from photographs.
The fundamental principle used by photogrammetry is triangulation. By taking photographs from at least two different locations, so-called "lines of sight" can be developed from each camera to points on the object. These lines of sight (sometimes called rays owing to their optical nature) are mathematically intersected to produce the 3-dimensional coordinates of the points of interest.
How technology can be used to increase accessibility at the museum for all visitors and offer engaging interpretation opportunities. Image represents the most basic accessibility challenges the museum has.
For Vizcaya I am considering the challenges related specifically to Accessibility and Technology moving forward.
3D Documentation: Enhancing Conservation, Interpretation And Accessibility
3D documentation: Enhancing Conservation, Interpretation and Accessibility
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
● Tell Vizcaya’s Story
● Promote Access
● Engage Audiences
Digital Guiding Principles
● Vizcaya sparks dialog with audiences by emphasizing interpretation by people, for
● Vizcaya digitally documents, preserves and promotes its institutional legacy.
● Vizcaya’s content is universally accessible.
● Vizcaya fosters partnerships for digital development and learning.
● Vizcaya identifies, measures and inspires passion in its audiences.
● Vizcaya produces media-rich interpretive content that’s timely, interactive and multi-
● Integrate digital strategies into our institutional strategic and interpretive plans.
Interpretive Technology Goals
● Bridging established preservation technologies with interpretive
digital technologies to enhance conservation, accessibility and
● Expand the community’s access to our collections and increase
opportunities for discovery.
3D Documentation: What can we do?
● Measure surface loss and how quickly objects
may be changing due to environmental and other
conditions can be obtained.
● Predict rates of deterioration and inform the
museum’s conservation priorities.
● Analyze effects of sea level rise and predict how
sea level rise might affect Vizcaya in the future.
● Measure objects and structures to provide a
permanent archive for predictive modeling, digital
restoration, and other conservation efforts.
3D Documentation: What can we do?
● Aid expert understanding by enabling details to be
enlarged and examined on a virtually unlimited scale.
● Enhance engagement by digitally and physically
recreate, reimagine, visualize, and even reconstruct
objects and architectural elements for visitor
engagement and research purposes.
● Improve accessibility by enabling visitors to virtually
visit and explore spaces that may not be accessible
and through tactile touch collections made with 3D
• Access to the 3-D functions of scanning,
designing, manipulation, printing and sharing
allows our visitors to engage with our museum
collections tangibly and creatively.
• Touchable objects will also increase
accessibility for visitors with vision impairment
or other relevant disabilities.
• These participatory actions both increase
dwell time with the object or its digital
surrogate and deepen visitors’ emotional
relationship with the object by allowing them
to make it their own.
● Production of dynamic 3-D mapping products
such as digital elevation models, digital terrain
models, architectural surface models and other
● These aerial mapping data can be merged with
ground based mapping and laser scanning and
produce wide area 3D models of Vizcaya’s Main
House, Gardens and Historic Village.
● Research, innovation and
scholarship: ideals that fuel the
existence of universities and
● Create programs that explore
how new and emerging digital
technologies can be used to
document, preserve, and
interpret heritage sites.
● Vizcaya is a National Historic Landmark that strives to meet
accessibility laws and internal goals, but is also greatly challenged
with accessibility for its diverse visitors.
● Vizcaya is not a purpose built space. Providing access in ways
that preserve the character of the historic institution requires
creativity and collaboration among staff.
● We are intent on experimenting with 3D technology to help offer
greater access (physical and intellectual) opportunities to all of our
● “Constraint as an impetus for innovation.” Sina Bahram
The widespread use of touchscreens is problematic for those with
● Visitor controlled contrast adjustment for the displays.
● Alternate display mode with larger fonts with large widely
● Alternatives to the visual display such as descriptive auditory
● Integration of 3D prints into guided experiences and programs.
● Integrate Universal Design to increase
accessibility and inclusion for diverse audiences
● Capture visitor data to further improve and
enhance the visitor experience?
● Use to enhance visitor wayfinding experience?
● All of this is: expensive, high maintenance,
requires staff training – new expertise.