Workshop 2018

July 16–20, 2018
The Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Conservation of Plastics in Museum Collections 2018, was the first in an ongoing series of workshops dedicated to the conservation and preservation of plastics and rubbers in museum collections.

The workshop program drew from the extensive experience of workshop instructors, conservator Anna Laganà and conservation scientist Thea van Oosten, and from recent research conducted as part of the GCI's Preservation of Plastics project.

Class Content

The workshop combined theory and practice through lectures, practical sessions, and group discussions.

Lectures focused on the history of plastics, their chemical and physical properties, manufacturing processes, degradation phenomena, identification, the latest scientific research and treatment studies, and preventive conservation guidelines. Theory sessions were integrated with practical sessions including demonstrations, practical exercises and group discussions. Practice was dedicated to the recognition of plastics, the impact of solvents, cleaning, adhering, consolidation and filling of selected plastics as well as encapsulating rubber objects.

The workshop, focusing on the conservation of three-dimensional objects, was particularly targeted toward objects conservators, however conservators from other disciplines were welcome to attend.

Participants were invited to bring non-accessioned objects or images of objects in order to discuss together the challenges they are encountering with plastics materials and their care.


Familiarize participants with various plastics materials produced through history

Improve participants' theoretical background on the conservation of plastics

Improve participants' practical skills on the treatment of plastics objects

Develop critical thinking skills that will help participants to estimate risks, establish suitable approaches into the preservation of plastics objects and design appropriate conservation treatments for their conservation.

Anna Laganà, Research specialist, Getty Conservation Institute
Thea van Oosten, Senior conservation scientist, The Netherlands

Stephanie Auffret
, Project Specialist, Getty Conservation Institute

Page updated: March 2018