Mystic Seaport

The Digital Ark (TDAC) and Mystic Seaport are working in collaboration on a project that takes interactive, “hands-on” museum experiences to the next level. Selected for its expertise in the complex process of photogrammetry, TDAC brought to life scrimshaw, elaborate engravings on walrus tusks and sperm whale teeth made by sailors on whaling ships, and miniature figureheads, replicas of the bowsprits of ships meticulously hand-carved by artist Lloyd McCaffery. These ornate and often delicate objects, which tend to depict American iconography and mythological symbols, were first photographed in minute detail. The hundreds of resulting 2D images were then stitched together to create manipulable and accurate 3D models. These photogrammetric models extend the sensory approach beyond the visual, allowing museum-goers to have a unique, tactile experience with the objects. TDAC's contributions to this project also include custom development and programming, as the 360 degree virtual reality (VR) of the scrimshaw and figureheads are the centerpieces of two interactive iPad kiosks built using a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These kiosks are valuable additions to the SeaChange exhibit opening on December 10, 2016, a dramatic presentation of a range of beautiful and unique objects, many for the first time ever, drawn from the collections of Mystic Seaport.

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