3D Shamrocks: Laser Scanning the James Michael Curley House

For anyone familiar with Boston’s larger-than-life, four-time mayor James Michael Curley, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that in 2014 he’s still managing to unite people to do great things for their city. In this case, Boston Globe correspondent John Dyer set off a grand chain of events back in January when he wrote about Feldman Land Surveyors’ pro-bono work in his article, 3D Scans Add a New Dimension to Preservation.

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The article sparked the imaginations of Christopher Gleason and Jody Gordon, both humanities professors at Wentworth Institute of Technology. The two were so inspired by Dyer’s words that they contacted Feldman Land Surveyors with a unique and interesting question. Would the James Michael Curley house qualify as a subject for Feldman’s Scanning Historic Boston program?

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Gleason and Gordon, who were about to instruct a new course focusing on digitally archiving and curating Curley’s life, realized a non-destructive 3D laser scan of the mayor’s house would be a fascinating addition to their collaborative collection and assembly of relevant data. No to mention that any virtual museum of the Curley’s life simply had to include the shamrock-shuttered house he called home for more than forty years.

Once their request reached Feldman’s offices, the rest—as they say—is history.

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Michael Feldman, the firm’s CEO and third generation president, saw the potential in the Curley project right away. “Feldman’s pro-bono work isn’t about merely collecting data. It’s about keeping Boston’s architectural treasures alive. So when our laser scans and the technology we use to collect them can be used in an educational setting, it matches the reason we started Scanning Historic Boston in the first place.”

Somewhere the spirit of James Michael Curley must be smiling down on this campaign, as well as working on a speech to fan all the renewed interest in his house with the 3D shamrocks!

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