Less than 1% of the 138 million objects housed by the Smithsonian’s 19 different museums are on public display, with most of the collections hidden away in storage.  One increasingly common way to improve access is digitization: photographing, scanning, and web publishing to bring these hidden collections to light.

For very large collections, digitization can be an expensive and time consuming project, but the recent introduction of customized conveyer-belt imaging systems may change that.

The Numismatic Collection at the National Museum of American History and Botany Collection at the National Museum of Natural History are using such a system to digitize their collections quickly, economically, and with high-quality results, processing an entire collection of 270,000 objects in three to four months.

Learn more about how the Smithsonian is utilizing conveyer-belt driven imaging in this short video created by their Digitization Program Office.