Category Archives: 3D Project

Graduate students in the History Department at NC State created 3D scans of artifacts from the collections of the North Carolina Museum of History. The artifacts are interpreted here with links to view and download the scans.

Women’s Economic Development, Butter-Making and Butter Prints

This project seeks to use 3D scanning technology to replicate and interpret a butter print, dated around the eighteenth century, from the collections of the North Carolina Museum of History (Accession # 1916.8.1). According to museum records, Scottish immigrants brought this wooden print to North Carolina with the image of what is believed to be a tobacco leaf. It is the hope of our group that our 3D model of this object on Thingiverse will augment the limited factual information known about the butter mold. This technology will allow visitors of all age groups to further understand past methods of food preparation and handle technology from bygone eras. More broadly, audience members can critically analyze the broader significance of this piece of material culture for the individuals who made it, used it, and brought it with them to North America. Continue reading

3D Modeling: Tea Caddy from the Edenton Tea Party

What is the significance of a drink? Drinks serve as an anchor for social gatherings. In colonial America the most important drink was tea. Social occasions in the colonies, like in the motherland, tended to center around tea and teatime.[1] Like the English, colonists took their tea drinking seriously, consuming great quantities in much of the same fashion as modern Americans drink coffee. Two main forces competed in the tea market: the British East India Tea Company and the Dutch East India Company. Originally, the British East India Tea Company monopolized the market; however, the Dutch traders “captured much of the colonial market by offering lower prices.”[2] The British East India Tea Company floundered under Dutch competition and appealed to Parliament for help in 1773. Several leading members of Parliament were invested in the British East India Tea Company, and they wanted to ensure their company would become “more attractive to the colonial market.” This resulted in a bailout known as the Tea Act of 1773, which “allowed the company to eliminate the English merchant middleman and sell directly to the colonists. Even with the tax still in effect, English tea would now be cheaper than its competitor.”[3]  Continue reading

A Shoe and the Historical Record

On October 7, 2014, students in Dr. Susanna Lee’s Digital History class (HI 534) went to the North Carolina Museum of History to participate in a new 3D-scanning project that sought to make items in the museum’s collection available as 3D scans to mass audiences cheaply and effectively. The project was an exploration into the cost effectiveness of 3D technology for museums and the methodological problems and challenges with using 3D technology to present historical artifacts. One of the objects that we scanned was a child’s leather shoe (Accession #2010.90.5) made by an enslaved person in North Carolina.  The shoe originated from Cleveland County, North Carolina, and was donated by the descendants of the Nowlin/Nolin/Nolan family (multiple spellings). One can access and download the completed scan on Thingiverse. Continue reading

Hog Scrapers: Making Pork Rinds since the 19th Century

hogscraperOn our Thingiverse page, we created a 3D scan of a 19th-century hog scraper, a historical artifact in the collections of the North Carolina Museum of History (Accession # 1966.66.426). The hog scraper was used to scrape the bristles off the outside of a butchered hog hide. Though it is difficult to see in the scan, the broad side of the hog scraper has four dull metal blades that function much in the way a modern shaving razor blade does. This particular hog scraper was manufactured in North Carolina and was likely partially handmade and partially machine crafted. It was probably used by a craftsman in the state sometime in the 1800s. This particular object is unique because of the sturdiness and detailed craftsmanship involved in its creation. The handle was likely made in a machine, most likely a machine that made table or chair legs. However, the joints on the object look hand-placed. Continue reading