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Make your own Smithsonian at home

13 September 2019

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

In the good old days, museum lovers used to make do with poster prints of their favourite paintings to hang in the parlour or adorn their bedroom walls. But since 2013, the Smithsonian Institution has gone one step further and offered its faithful an opportunity to create their own 3D prints of objects in its collection, by making available to download models of scores of objects in the collection. Anyone can now build their own Smithsonian in the suburbs.

Reproductions lend themselves to reinvention, of course. Last week, one tech-savvy tweeter – a writer called Christopher Sebela – went viral when he revealed that, thanks to the Smithsonian, he now has a ‘Lidded Ewer from 1050 BCE to put [his] weed in’.

Dope, as they say. In the spirit of creative repurposing, Rakewell has a few further suggestions to help you create the all-American interior – out of nothing but the Smithsonian website and a 3D printer.

Why not stick a lightbulb inside Neil Armstrong’s extra-vehicular visor assembly to transform it into an Apollonian bedside lamp:

The accompanying gloves will be perfect for pruning the yard:

This Alaskan ammonite will make the perfect dog bed (well, almost):

For her, this bust of George Washington will make the most tasteful of jewellery trees:

And finally, ever wanted to replace your doorknobs with casts of Abraham Lincoln’s hands? Well, now you can:

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.