When models are shared on 3D-sharing sites like the Thingiverse, they become ”social objects.” “Social objects are the engines of socially networked experiences, the content around which conversation happens”
I feel that the openness with which 3-d replicas are spoken about in the Turkel¶ Elliot, and Neely readings, indicative in a general change in perspective among researchers, scholars and museum educators/exhibition designers/ archivists/ curators. It is important to engage a visitor with the physical space in which he/she finds him/herself. In terms of whether or not a 3-D object can aid learning, I feel I must introduce the idea of disability accessibility. Most museums that I have been in have accessibility programs for people with low vision, blindness or communication impairments. Communication can be aided through touch. If you cannot see a screen, how would you interact with it? Similarly, every person–irregardless of having a diagnosis of any kind or not–learns differently.
The idea that engagement with 3-D modeling is made possible at a relatively affordable price and that art objects and artifacts may be reproduced and touched, turned over and held, opens possibilities for discussion on how to guide humanities education. I am often surprised when after learning about an artwork in class I then find it again in a museum or gallery and find that there are significant differences in size and quality. Projections do not cut it.
Walter Benjamin’s essay on the Age of Mechanical Reproduction was not written in an epoch when reproduction could herald the exact twin of the original.