You Can Now Download 1,700 Free 3-D Cultural Heritage Models

by Nadine Daher/

During the first manned lunar landing mission in July 1969, Apollo 11’s crew lived in a command module dubbed the Columbia. Currently a priceless artifact in the National Air and Space Museum’s collections, the module was the only portion of the spacecraft to return to Earth. Now, thanks to a new open-access initiative spearheaded by Sketchfab, the web’s largest platform for immersive 3-D content, anyone with an internet connection can “re-use, re-imagine and remix” the vessel—as well as nearly 1,700 other historic artifacts—without limitation.

Last week, Sketchfab announced plans to allow organizations to waive all copyright and dedicate their digital models to the public domain. To mark this milestone in museum digitization and accessibility efforts, the 3-D portal has released a new virtual collection of 1,700 models available for the public to download, print or manipulate however they see fit.

“With the introduction of the CC dedication for cultural heritage content, Sketchfab continues to foster ongoing artistic and academic reuse of [3-D] data under clear and easily understandable terms,” says Sketchfab founder and CEO Alban Denoyel in a statement quoted by Forbes. “With thousands of museums, libraries, art galleries, and archaeological projects already using Sketchfab to share their [3-D] data online, the platform wants to make it easy for organizations to align their digital [3-D] collections with their open access policies.”

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