National Constitution Center displays artifact replicas that were 3-D printed at VCU

Celeste Fuentes, a freshman anthropology major and lab manager at the Virtual Curation Laboratory, shows off a plate fragment associated with a free African-American, contemporaneous with the signing of the Constitution.

A new display at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia features artifact replicas 3-D printed and painted by Virginia Commonwealth University students.

The display, “Philadelphia 1787,” opened earlier this month as part of the center’s main exhibit, which pieces together life in Philadelphia at the time of the birth of a new nation. The exhibit features more than 80 archeological artifacts dating to the 18th century that were excavated in Philadelphia before construction of the National Constitution Center.

As part of the exhibit, visitors are invited to “touch the past” by interacting with 3-D-printed artifact replicas created in the Virtual Curation Laboratory, part of VCU’s School of World Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences. The lab focuses on the 3-D scanning and 3-D printing of historic and archaeological objects, including many notable artifacts from museums across Virginia and around the world.

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