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National Science Foundation funds 3-D Colonial Philadelphia Project

May 12, 2008

3-D Colonial Philadelphia ProjectDigital Media Professor Glen Muschio is part of a team of Drexel College of Engineering faculty who have just received a National Science Foundation grant of over $700,000 for work on 3- D Colonial Philadelphia. The grant is to fund research that seeks to develop an algorithm that could automate the virtual reconstruction of manufactured ceramic shards recovered from archaeological sites. A virtual process could reduce the need for time consuming physical reconstruction, and would have implications for cataloging and retrieving information of archaeological importance. The team is working in collaboration with the National Park Service which is supplying a sample of ceramic shards recovered from the grounds upon which the National Constitution Center now stands.  If successful, the research will prove invaluable to archeologists working throughout the world.

3-D Colonial Philadelphia is an ongoing research project of the Digital Media Program. Among its goals is the creation of a repository for virtual artifacts and digital assets associated with colonial life so as to provide searchable databases for scholars, researchers, educators and the general public. The project’s objective is to create a digital environment appropriate for teaching colonial American history in the classroom and at historic sites. Digital Media faculty and students have a number of projects underway. Professor Chris Redmann has guided students in building 3D models of 18th century historic homes and structures in and around Philadelphia including Franklin Court, the home of Ben Franklin, and a brick house which once stood in the vicinity of Fifth and Arch Streets. The house was rented to James Oronoko Dexter, a prominent and free African American. Other 18th century structures include the Mill at Anselma in Chester Springs, PA and the Whitall House, home of wealthy Quaker entrepreneurs that still stands in Red Bank Battlefield Park, Woodbury, NJ.