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Smithsonian showcases 3-D Revolutionary War gunboat

The Smithsonian launched a new 3-D viewer online this week to give people a closer look at artifacts in their own homes.

With most of its 137 million objects kept behind the scenes or in a faraway museum, the Smithsonian Institution is launching a new 3-D scanning and printing initiative to make more of its massive collection accessible to schools, researchers and the public worldwide.

A small team has begun creating 3-D models of some key objects representing the breadth of the collection at the world's largest museum complex.

Some of the first 3-D scans include the Wright brothers' first airplane, Amelia Earhart's flight suit, casts of President Abraham Lincoln's face during the Civil War and a Revolutionary War gunboat.

Click here for the full report by NBC News and click here for a 3-D look at a pirate skull.