To preserve, to study and to present collections are three important principles of any museum. The technological developments as well as the evolution of the public interest, step by step transformed the possibilities and the answers to the various challenges which museum institutions are facing.

Technological development means that there are more requests for destructive sampling for analysis which require a "backup" of the collection specimen before its destruction. This evolution of practice also means that new material doesn't often make it into the physical collections of scientific institutions. Also, the collections and the way of collecting the object have completely changed since the last 50 years. It is not always possible to take out the objetcs from their country of origin to study them. We also have to consider that precious artifacts can be destroyed in human and natural catastrophes and thus need to be preserved. Finally, the expectations of the public have increased and there is a large demand for more information and new and innovative media.

Different scanning technologies.

High Resolution digitization can solve these problems by allowing:

  1. to create a virtual object with the highest possible resolution in order to preserve the original data of the specimen;
  2. to increase the collections in terms of quantity and scientific value;
  3. to continue to have access to the repatriated specimens for scientific studies;
  4. to create physical reproductions for display in the Museums.

3D model of the engraved reindeer from Trou Magritte (Belgium).

The AGORA 3D consortium is composed of 4 Belgian federal scientific institutions from BELSPO. The institutions involved in the project are:

  1. The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences;
  2. The Royal Museum of Central Africa;
  3. The Royal Museums of Art and History;
  4. The Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage.


  1. Analyze different non-destructive digital technologies;
  2. High resolution 3D digitization of the Natural History and Cultural Heritage federal collections for scientific study;
  3. Combine equipment and methods;
  4. Endeavor to develop a common set of protocols and recommendations;
  5. Development of new technology is not the focus. Applying the available techniques in the best and most efficient way;
  6. Evaluate the different 3D applications available on the market with special interest for Open Source technologies;

Large variety of case studies.