This article describes and evaluates a 3-D scanned and printed exhibit created by students and faculty in collaboration with a local museum to increase accessibility to archaeological and historical collections for audiences with visual disabilities, neurodivergence, and sensory processing differences. 3-D technologies allowed for the creation of a hands-on exhibit, accompanied by a variety of accessible solutions, such as audio, video, and braille, allowing audiences to explore reproductions of artifacts through touch. Surveys of museum attendees and students who participated in the project revealed that the tactile exhibit and design experience were extremely positive. As museums and public historians strive for universal design and access in programs, this technology provides another opportunity for engagement. The authors explain methods and applications for public historians, museums, and outreach.
Printing the Past: Building Accessibility and Engagement Through 3-D Technologies
Katie Stringer Clary is a public historian and assistant professor of history at Coastal Carolina University. She received her PhD in public history from Middle Tennessee State University. Her work in accessibility in museums resulted in publication of Programming for People with Special Needs at Museums and Historic Places in 2014, and her current work is on the role of bodies, living and dead, in the museum.
Carolyn Dillian is an archaeologist who has conducted excavations throughout the US and Kenya to examine patterns of trade and exchange of stone and ceramic artifacts. Her work helps us understand how people moved throughout the landscape and interacted in the past, sometimes over very long distances. She holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and serves as professor and department chair of the Department of Anthropology and Geography at Coastal Carolina University.
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Katie Stringer Clary, Carolyn Dillian; Printing the Past: Building Accessibility and Engagement Through 3-D Technologies. The Public Historian 1 May 2021; 43 (2): 41–62. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2021.43.2.41
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