Scholar Building a Virtual Smithsonian Institution
Doctoral Student Helping Produce a 3D Web Version of the Vast Holdings

The Smithsonian Institution is going 3D. A digitized, virtual museum will broaden awareness of the Smithsonian to millions who might never get the chance to visit in person. But the project is labor-intensive: It will require high-definition photos of all 137 million objects in the museum’s collection.  A student at The University of Texas at Dallas is up for the challenge. 

Carolina Dabbah (Ceballos), a PhD student in arts and humanities at UT Dallas, recently received a paid internship with the Smithsonian’s Office of Exhibits Central (OEC) for the Fall 2010 semester.

The OEC, which is the largest comprehensive exhibit design and production facility at the Smithsonian Institution, will be partnering with the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) to create a 3D digital archive of Smithsonian artifacts, records, documents and relics from 19 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo.

Dabbah’s charge is to develop a business plan to help broaden the OEC market, domestically and internationally, by using new media and different marketing elements and logistics. She will also be working to develop the museum’s website. She says, “I am very excited to work at the Smithsonian. I believe 3D virtual reality technology will change the history of museums, the art world and the audience experience.” 

Dr. Tom Linehan, director of Arts and Technology (ATEC), believes the OEC chose the right candidate.  “Carolina is especially qualified to assist with this project,” he says. “She knows different types of software that will be used, she speaks four languages fluently and is smart as a whip. Her dream is to be an arts administrator who is technically informed, so this internship will help prepare her for digital exhibition.” 

Linehan is hopeful that this internship will be the start of a long-term relationship between the University and the Smithsonian.

Carolina Dabbah, a PhD student in arts and humanities, is working with the Smithsonian’s Office of Exhibits Central this semester.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].