Bringing the Museum into the Classroom: The Evolution of 3D Printing in History Education
Cultural institutions throughout the United States including the Smithsonian Institution are continuously improving their educational resources. There has been increased demand for online resources in part due to online learning becoming more sought out by state school systems. Now that students are retuning into the classroom, there are still aspects of their educational experience that have not resumed including field trips. Fields trips to various historic sites are important for students of all ages especially when exploring topics such as early U.S. History. Students throughout the nation are taught about U.S. History starting in elementary school. While field trips are often integrated into teaching curriculums by educators, there are some factors including lack of resources that prevent students from visiting historic places located in their vicinity. Alternatively, educators have found ways to use the growing online resources such as 3D printing, scanning, and modeling to ‘bring the museum into the classroom’. I plan to explore how the roles that 3D printing take part in history education in elementary schools, secondary schools, and higher education. Seven years ago, I stated learning how to use 3D printing for academic outreach under the auspices of Dr. Bernard K. Means and The Virtual Curation Laboratory (VCL) at Virginia Commonwealth University. The VCL and other online curation laboratories are growing in popularity for educators of all grade levels.