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Applications of digitization to museum collections management, research and accessibility


  • Chelsea Graham

Summary, in English

Over the past few decades, digital methods of documentation and exhibition have been becoming ever more popular in museums. As technologies advance, so too do the implications for museum digitization. This thesis provides a glimpse into the current atmosphere of museum digitization, proposes new applications for digital documentation and propagates these themes through the development of a case study. Applications of digital documentation and visualization to collections management, scientific research and dissemination are investigated. Among the foremost objectives of this thesis is to convey the manners in which digitization can give further value to museum specimens and unlock their potential to answer scientific and social questions.
Within this thesis, the capacity for 3D models to make data more accessible, extend research methods and forge new relationships between researcher and subject are highlighted. Applications in museum collections management are also explored, especially how these methods aid collections staff in monitoring and conserving specimens for future study and diffusion. In terms of dissemination, issues of ‘universal collections’, virtual exhibits and digital repatriation are addressed. The propensity for digital visualizations to convey intangible aspects of cultural heritage and embody personal memories and experiences are duly probed.
The work culminates in a case study, which follows the digital acquisition and creation of a 3D model of a classical Roman portrait from the collections of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen. Both a technical and theoretical work, the case study underscores the potential uses of 3D models as canvases upon which to gather, project and juxtapose different kinds of scientific data. The case study is specifically developed to emphasize and create discourse concerning how 3D models can supplement or surpass current polychromy study techniques.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • History and Archaeology


  • 3D models
  • digital acquisition
  • digital cultural heritage
  • digital documentation
  • digital repatriation
  • digitization in museums
  • intangible cultural heritage
  • laser scanning
  • museum collections management
  • MeshLab
  • museum research
  • Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
  • sculptural polychromy
  • universal collections


  • Nicolo Dell'Unto (Bitr. universitetslektor)