Care of Plastic Artifacts
Early-Bird Registration Fee: $1,250
Regular Registration: $1,300
Plastics now play a significant role in museums, both as support materials and as artifacts, especially in archival, military, textile and toy collections. However collections containing plastics present unusual and challenging collections care issues; controlled environments and archival storage materials recommended for the protection of museum collections may actually accelerate the decay of certain historic plastics. The resulting damage can be severe, irreversible and costly – contaminating and degrading other artifacts and storage cabinets. This 4 day course focuses on practical, cost-effective solutions to the problem and offers the latest updates on preventive care for different plastics in the context of the collections of which they are an integral part. Participants will develop strategies for extending the lifespan of artifacts made from incompatible plastic combinations and for coping with plastics which have already degraded. Practical sessions include designing storage solutions, selecting safe cleaning methods, monitoring for corrosive gases etc on a selection of specific artifacts. Participants may choose to solve problems from their own collections if they prefer.
Julia Fenn was born in South Africa and took her BA degree in Archaeology at the University of Cape Town before going to England to specialize in the conservation of anthropological material at London University. Since then she has worked for
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museums on three continents, including the British Museum, the South African Museum of Natural History, and the Royal Ontario Museum. She has experience in the identification and conservation of a wide range of materials, including modern plastics, which she has studied since 1985.