TAMPA, Fla. — University of South Florida Professor Lori Collins has worked on a lot of projects, but the project featuring First Lady Rosalynn Carter and her husband Jimmy has to be one of her favorites. 

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“I was hoping we would get a chance to see them, you know,” Collins said. 

Collins is the co-director of the USF Digital Heritage and Humanities Center. For two years, she and her research team have been working with the National Park Service and Friends of Jimmy Carter to create a 3-D look of the former president’s furniture and woodworking. Jimmy Carter built many of the pieces himself.

Of course, Collins said, the first lady had a lot of influence on what the furniture looked like. Some of the pieces are in the Carter’s home, detailing the couple’s close-knit bond.

“It’s always them,” Collins said. “That to me is the thing about them. It’s always them together.”

The first time the USF team traveled to Plains, Ga.,, the presidential couple made a surprise visit to town. They asked Collin’s research team about a special presentation of the work being done. Collins said Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter were very interested in the technology. 

“For me, that was a real honor,” Collins said. “To be able to present to them, totally unexpected and for them to be interested in the work that we’re doing, is just incredible.”

The USF team also documented virtual tours of the Carter boyhood home — narrated by President Carter — and the Plains Depot, which housed the Carter presidential campaign headquarters.

To check out the 3D tour, click here.