The source images for the digital models are produced by drawing, laser scanning, photogrammetry and micro-ct scans. In addition to making the images available through a web brower, there is also a possibility of supplying files in formats permitting the production of solid models with a 3D printer.
The Smithsonian site contains interactive models, and explanatory videos showing the digitization techniques and brief lectures about the potential of the idea for educational outreach. There is also a conference planned for November which will be streamed live from the web site.
The X3D application is pretty resource intensive. One of our home computers is an older Dell running XP, and it really cannot even support a small iframe running the the Autodesk viewer. My Dell Precision 690 has more RAM and a faster CPU which does ok with X3D. I'm wondering how people with tablets and similar platforms are doing with this technology.