Interactive Artifacts

The American Southwest Virtual Museum features interactive artifacts in the form of 3D models, reflectance transformation imaging (RTI), and pottery vessel rotations.  3D models allow the user to rotate artifacts fully, viewing all sides; RTI enhances artifact surfaces and allows users to change the lighting to see features otherwise obscured by shadows; and the rotations allow users to turn vessels and zoom in on details.

 Explore below or or use the buttons to jump to the interactive features you would like to use.


3d models

The American Southwest Virtual Museum features a number of 3D models.  These were created by stitching together a series of photographs to create a digital interactive model of each.

Mosaic replica by Emil Haury (GRCA Catalog No. 15593)

Emil Haury (1904-1992) was one of the great names in Southwest archaeology.  The featured model above is of a replica of a Hohokam (central and southern Arizona) artifact made by Haury and dated “8-20-31” on the back.  The mosaic consists of turquoise and coral fixed to the outer surface of a clam shell.

Archaeological Materials

Historic Artifacts

Paleontological Specimens

Statues and Replicas


Reflectance transformation imaging

Several artifacts included in the American Southwest Virtual Museum can be viewed with Reflectance Transformation Imaging, or RTI.  This method allows users to view the artifacts under different lighting conditions, and therefore to see features that might otherwise be obscured by shadows cast during the photography process.

John Wesley Powell’s Watch (GRCA Catalog No. 20836)
Featured above is the gold watch and watch key that belonged to Major John Wesley Powell. Powell led two expeditions down the Colorado River—the first in 1869, and the second in 1871-1872.


Flaked Stone Artifacts

NPS Badges and Buttons

The artifacts in this gallery are displayed using WebRTIViewer.


Vessel rotations

The American Southwest Virtual Museum also includes ceramic vessel rotations, in which the viewer can turn the vessels and zoom in on details.  Available rotations are arranged by ware below.

Kayenta Black-on-white Olla (NAVA Catalog No. 436)
Featured above is a Kayenta Black-on-white olla collected by Byron Cummings in Navajo National Monument in 1909.  Design elements include crow’s feet, mosquito bars, interlocking scrolls, spirals, and angular parallel lines.

Alameda Brown Ware

Cibola White Ware

Hohokam Buff Ware

Jeddito Yellow Ware

Mimbres Ware

Mogollon Brown Ware

Tsegi Orange Ware

Tusayan Gray Ware

Tusayan White Ware

Winslow Orange Ware