Back in 2012-2013, we were thinking about audiences for the new museum. We talked lots about the areas of our collection that are largely inaccessible to our audiences and, in particular, how difficult it was to show the artefacts we had from the stamp printing process. We have lots of dies, rollers and printing plates which have been used on some very iconic stamp issues. These are mostly made of metal, with glossy surfaces. These are 3D objects and we felt that, although straight photography can help audiences envisage them, it would be better to try and find new ways to show their physical properties.
In 2013, a visit from the Digital Humanities team at University College London (UCL) put us in contact with Mona Hess, then a doctoral student working in UCL’s Civil, Environmental, and Geomatic Engineering Department. Together we submitted a proposal to Share Academy – the London Museums Group’s partnership with UCL and University of the Arts London (UAL) to encourage museums and academics to work together. We wanted to test 3D techniques on the philatelic printing material (and other selected objects from the collection). Our bid was successful and the funds paid for Mona to undertake the tests and teach us a few tricks! The money also paid for photogrammetry software and some 3D prints. You can read about the project on our old blog.
Here’s an example item from their collection:
I’m quite happy to see this project blossom as it was developed in part from a partnership with my alma mater University of the Arts London – cool! Next time I’m in London I look forward to riding the Mail Rail