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Lonny Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Photo: Google.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture today is launching a new interactive installation that was constructed via 3D scanners by Google's Black Googler Network.

Why it matters: The installation will allow museum visitors to interact with rare artifacts in 3D, giving people access to objects that otherwise would not be featured in the museum, the engineers said Thursday night.

How it works: BGN and museum staff explained that Google donated 3D scanners and trained the Smithsonian museum staff to allow them to condense the usual multiple hour process of scanning artifacts into the interactive design to 15 minutes. The installation is part of a $1 million donation from Google when the museum first opened.

The gritty details:

  • The program will start with 10 artifacts. Once museum visitors interact with the technology, information will be gathered to assess how the process should proceed and grow based on the usage.
  • They faced a challenge: Darker artifact items are typically harder to digitally render in great detail, so they had to add the right amount of light to capture it successfully.
  • Some artifacts in the collection include: platform boots scanned from the play "The Wiz," a cast molding of Eubie Blake’s hands, and Seba Johnson’s ski boots.

Go deeper

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden has arrived at the White House and he will sign executive orders and other presidential actions.

43 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.