The pushke exhibit first appeared at the Jean & Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies in the summer of 2015. The exhibit was composed of 40 pushkes (charitable donation boxes) of all shapes and sizes, situated in a series of display cases. The many diverse charity boxes reflect the breadth of the Jewish Heritage Collection Dedicated to Mark and Dave Harris, and illustrate the value of giving in Jewish communities throughout the world. Prior to being moved into storage for safekeeping, the collection underwent a lengthy scanning processes with help from the 3D lab, to convert the collection into digitized 3D objects expanding accessibility by allowing the exhibit to be preserved and view-able online.
The Pushke Collection was digitized by the UM3D Lab using the process of Photogrammetry. In this process, several high fidelity digital photographs are captured 360 degrees around the subject. These photos are analyzed by a computer algorithm to identify matching features on a per-pixel basis between photographs. These identified features are then used to triangulate a position within 3D space, allowing a 3D model of the object to be generated. The color information from the initial photographs is then mapped to the surface of the object in order to achieve a realistic digital replica. Select pieces of the Pushke collection have been further refined to correct imperfections resulting from the capturing process by an artist using digital sculpting and painting software, with the entire digital collection also being optimized for more efficient viewing on the web.
A web viewer was then developed and integrated into the Frankel Center’s WordPress site, to display and allow manipulation of the various puskes in the collection. The web viewer allows each pushke to be rotated 360 degrees, and for the pushkes to be zoomed in or out, allowing for more detailed viewing than what traditional photographs typically allow.
The result of this effort, the Frankel Center’s online exhibit, “Charity Saves from Death: The Jewish Tradition of Tsedakah as Exemplified in Pushkes” can be viewed here: https://exhibits.judaic.lsa.umich.edu/pushke