Vermont State Students to Apply 3D Modeling Technology to Fairbanks Museum Collection

Vermont State students from two academic programs will work together to complete a 3D modeling project for the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) beginning January 16. 

During this cross-campus and cross-program collaborative effort, students in the Anthropology, Archaeology, and Geography program will travel from the VTSU Castleton campus to take a series of 3D scans of conceptual plaster dinosaur casts in the museum’s collection in St. Johnsbury. The fragile and heavy casts were among the early artifacts purchased in 1892 by Franklin Fairbanks for his museum and have been on exhibit behind glass for more than 20 years.  

Back on the Castleton campus, the students will use the scans to print 3D models of the casts in the Castleton Innovation Lab. Animation & Illustration program students based on the VTSU Lyndon campus will then paint the 3D models to appear more realistic than the approximately 132-year-old casts. The completed reproductions will also be much lighter and better suited for handling and educational programming at the museum.  

“The original casts were among the first three-dimensional representations of dinosaurs that were created based on skeleton fragments and fossils,” said Anna Rubin, director of external relations for the Fairbanks Museum. “It will be fascinating to see how the students make use of these sculptures with the knowledge we have today about dinosaurs.” 

We’ll share the full step-by-step process on VTSU social media!