As part of its continued effort to show the world that 3D printing is a technology that can be both exciting and useful, MakerBot recently joined forces with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (The Met) to conduct a two-day hack-a-thon. The goal? To capture as many statues and sculptures in a 3D virtual environment as possible. Those 3D models would then be uploaded to the Thingiverse where anyone with a 3D printer could recreate them at home, allowing them to study and admire the artwork without having to make the trip to New York to see them in person.While some critics have seen 3D printing as nothing more than a fad, it’s projects like this that show the incredible power that the technology can put into the hands of everyday people. A child who lives in Washington state who might not be able to make the trip to the MET to do a school report on some of the pieces of work that are stored in the museum can now get a hands-on look to help them understand the subject matter that much better. Having a miniature version of the Reclining Naiad by Antonio Canova in your hand certainly beats looking at a picture on a website!This partnership with the MET is just the first salvo in MakerBot’s effort to “bring art back to life.” The company desires to employ the technology that it’s helping to develop to allow much greater access to the world’s treasures to a broader spectrum of people. With more schools and educators getting on board with 3D printing, it opens a huge doorway for students of all ages to take part in the exploration of art and its cultural significance. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that many of them will be purchasing MakerBots to make all of this happen!Read more at the Thingiverse, MakerBot, and the Met site.