Over time, historical sites and monuments all over the world have been destroyed due to conflict and natural disasters. In many communities, the destruction of these sites means more than just a loss of physical presence since they often represent a community’s culture and heritage.
Ancient historic landmarks like Palmyra’s Temple of Baalshamin in Syria and Nepal’s 5th century Buddhist and Hindu temples have fallen victim to natural disasters and vandalism. But we partnered with UNESCO and Rekrei to rebuild these destroyed sites for the generations to come.
While the physical restoration of these ancient monuments is impossible, the partners’ new project, Reclaim History, aims to digitally recreate them in the first worldwide crowd-sourced online museum, using a combination of photogrammetry, virtual reality and 3D printing technologies. The site is "the central hub where people can go visit and learn more about the monuments that have been digitally recreated. The site is also a place for anyone to come together and help recreate more monuments.
We launched the project with an exhibition of the project's first digitally rebuilt monuments at the Museum of Arts & Design of NY, where we brought back artifacts to the real world with 3D printing.
In many cases, physical restorations are impossible due to the extent of the destruction, but through crowdsourcing the digital preservation of the memory of that heritage, not only does it provide a way for the public to engage with lost heritage, but also to have an active, tangible role in preserving it.