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“Which Plastics are in my collection? The Identification of Plastics without the use of analytical techniques” Workshop

April 7, 2022 at 9:00am4:00pm EDT

Bird Library, 6th floor

This event has already occurred. The information may no longer be valid.

Determining the specific plastic used in an object is fundamental to properly approaching its preservation, is necessary for understanding its degradation, estimating risks and defining appropriate conservation treatment. A proper and correct identification of plastic objects requires suitable analytical techniques. However, conservators do not always have access to laboratories with specialized analytical equipment. This workshop will give participants the basic essentials to differentiate and recognize the most common plastics present in museum collections and to improve their examination skills when looking at objects made with these materials.

The workshop will provide an introduction to plastics (classification, history, manufacturing, degradation) followed by an overview of the main non-analytical ways that can be used to recognize plastics from using non-destructive methodologies (collecting object data, looking, feeling, tapping and smelling the plastic) to conduct simple destructive tests (chemical reactions tests, etc.).

The last part of the workshop will consist of a practical session where participants will practice non-analytical identification techniques on a selection of plastic objects from the Special Collections Research Center.

Workshop space is limited. Registration is required to

About the Speaker:

Anna Laganà is a Senior Research Specialist in the conservation of plastics at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), where she leads projects, including the investigation of treatment options for plastics in collections and develops workshops on their conservation.  Before joining the GCI, Anna had the opportunity to manage her own company and work within larger institutions in varied roles, including as Coordinator of the Contemporary Art Conservation Laboratory at the Centro Conservazione Restauro la Venaria Reale in Turin, as a conservator/researcher at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands conducting research on plastics conservation, and as a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam coordinating the Postgraduate program 1 (PI1) in Conservation of Modern and Contemporary Art.  Since September 2020 she is the Coordinator for the Modern Materials and Contemporary Art Working Group of ICOM-CC. Laganà has published extensively on the conservation of plastics and has disseminated her research internationally through professional development workshops for conservators.

The event is made possible through the generous gift of William J. ’65, G’ 68 and Joan’67, G’68 Brodsky of Chicago. Beginning in 2004, the annual Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation has sponsored programs featuring prominent library conservators that promote and advance knowledge of library conservation theory, practice, and application among wide audiences, both on campus and in the region.

This event was published on March 3, 2022.

Event Details