In 1999 folks from Stanford University attempted a scan of an incredible sculpture: Michelangelo's giant statue of David.
We dredged up a very old web page from 1999 in which is described the process of capturing a full 3D scan of the statue using then-current equipment. Of course, today’s equipment is significantly better. The Stanford team had to do quite a bit more work to get the job done:
We'll be scanning David from 7:00pm until 8:00am every night for the next few weeks. There are 22 people on our scanning crew. Everyone (even the prof) works roughly one 7-hour shift in the museum each day. People who aren't scanning are back at the laboratory processing data, writing software, or sleeping. It's a Herculean labor.
Today there are many better options for those wishing to 3D scan that are far less expensive and easier to perform. In fact, we often capture detailed 3D scans in museums using only our iPhones.
Times have certainly changed.