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Historic Scotland animation offers remarkable views of Mount Rushmore for digital project

18 June 2012

                     A still from the new digital animation of Mount Rushmore (Copyright CDDV)

The first fly through animations of Mount Rushmore in 3D are now available thanks to a joint venture between Scotland and the United States, which has created a highly accurate three-dimensional model of the Park and its globally recognised sculptures.

Conservation and technology experts from Historic Scotland and Glasgow School of Art, in collaboration with American partner CyArk and the National Park Service, have unveiled the material (at www.youtube.com/historicscotlandtv).

The animation formed part of the Scottish Ten international programme, which is digitally recording Scotland’s five World Heritage sites and five others of international importance.

At Mount Rushmore, the digital record will help preserve the monument and increase public access to Park resources, by providing virtual access to restricted areas and artefacts.

The material has also been included in a new app released by Apple, available at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mount-rushmore-virtual-tour/id534020138?ls=1&mt=8

The animated fly-through produced by Historic Scotland and Glasgow School of Art allows digital visitors to appreciate the presidents’ heads from a novel perspective, sweeping up the cliff and across the sculpted faces, as well as showing the valley behind the heads, known as The Hall of Records, which is inaccessible to the public.

The Digital Preservation Project also includes a new digital portal, the free mobile app, and a Park exhibition scheduled to open later this year. Sections of the museum collection are also being digitised.

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, welcomed the new digital material saying: “I am delighted to see Scottish expertise helping to interpret, manage and conserve this wonderful site.

“The Scottish Ten has recorded some of the world’s most important and iconic heritage sites, and this new project at Mount Rushmore joins remarkable work already completed at locations including St Kilda, Rani ki Vav Stepwell in India, and Neolithic Orkney.

“Historic Scotland through its partnership with Glasgow School of Art is taking Scottish digital expertise to a global audience, enhancing our country’s reputation for innovation, creativity and scientific progress.”

At CyArk, founder Ben Kacyra said: “It is an honour for our organisation to digitally preserve such an important monument to the American spirit for generations to come. The CyArk website gives free access to users across the globe, allowing them to experience Mount Rushmore alongside other culturally significant world heritage sites.”  

The project began in May 2010 when Mount Rushmore National Memorial and CyArk collaborated with Respec Engineering, Wyss Associates and the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation.

Further information, images and videos from the new animation can also be found at the CyArk website www.cyark.org

The Scottish Ten project is continuing with ongoing scanning in Edinburgh, and the team is due to visit the Eastern Qing Tombs in China later this year

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with ensuring that our historic environment provides a strong foundation for a successful future for Scotland. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.



  • The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is one of the United Kingdom’s (UK) most successful higher education institutions specialising in architecture, design and fine art.  It has an established reputation world wide for high quality education and search that is demonstrated by the outstanding successes of its students and graduates and the professional standing of its staff.  It is home to an international community of 1,700 undergraduate and postgraduate students studying in the schools of Architecture, Design and Fine Art, or at the Digital Design Studio. For further information: www.gsa.ac.uk ; www.digitaldocumentation.co.uk



  • The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at: www.visitscotland.com/creative

  • The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at  www.visitscotland.org/yearofcreativescotland-toolkit

                                                   Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information


David Gray
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8588 or 07854 366 805
david.gray@scotland.gsi.gov.uk