Museum material and documentary collections provide marvelous learning and teaching opportunities. Students are always excited by the prospect of seeing artifacts in museum collections, gaining access to original documents, and participating in the process of discovery.

Museums have a major drawback: their fixed locations limit access for a broad range of community and educational stakeholders. In a rural state like Idaho, students may not be able to make their way to the exciting collections that bring history, anthropology, archaeology, and natural history to life.

This project has built on interdisciplinary research conducted at Idaho State University to bring museums and their collections to parents, teachers, and students across Idaho through the internet. This project combines recent developments in 3D scanning and database technologies developed at ISU to create opportunities for the implementation of virtual museum collections to better serve underrepresented and geographically separated communities and to increase access to critical Idaho history and culture courses. Pilot interdisciplinary projects to create virtual osteology museum collections ( ), and a project to make artifacts from western Alaska available to stakeholder communities, have generated enthusiasm in both the public and scientific communities (


We have used scanning, imaging, and information management tools within the Informatics Research Institute (IRI) and the Idaho Virtualization Laboratory (IVL), to create a suite of virtual museum educational modules and collections for the presentation of Idaho history, culture, archaeology, and geography.


These education modules incorporate 2D and 3D images of artifacts, data, photographs, and interpretive histories for local stakeholder communities, educational institutions, and the entire state. Instructional Designers  (ID) have coordinated the development of educational modules for primary and secondary education in the local schools and regional districts. The collections in the virtual museum environment can be expanded to include other topics for schools across Idaho.