British Museum releases scans of artefacts to let you 3D print your own museum at home

Though we're not sure that's quite the same as actually giving back the priceless historical artefacts that were stolen from countries around the world

James Vincent
Tuesday 04 November 2014 10:50 GMT

The British Museum could soon be coming to your living room – if, that is, you have a 3D printer on hand.

Working in collaboration with Sketchfab, an online platform that lets users share and download 3D scans, the British Museum has created 14 3D models of busts, statues and sarcophagi from its collection for anyone to download and print at home.

The museum’s “first downloadable collection” includes a granite head of Egyptian pharaoh Amenemhat III from the 12th Dynasty (around 1800 BC), a stone figure of the Aztec god Ziuhcoatl (created around 1325-1521 AD) and a marble bust of Zeus of 1 century origin that is described as “found/acquired” -nicer than stolen/nicked - from Roman emperor Hadrian’s Villa.

The British Museum is following in the footsteps of New York’s Metropolitan Museum, which released its own set of freely-downloadable 3D models back in 2012.

However, eager treasure hunters should remember that when taking into account the electricity and material costs of running a 3D printer, churning out your own desktop statuette of Amenhotep III at home might actually cost more than buying a replica in the museum giftshop.

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