Identification of Plastic Materials - Workshop at West Dean College

Posted on Sat, 03/02/2024 - 17:53
Sample plastic object - dolls head on dish
Students at the workshop
West Dean College Main Building
Selection of plastic objects
Students looking at an object


West Dean, United Kingdom

Date and time


Learn about plastics in the beautiful surroundings of West Dean College.
The course is aimed at anyone with an interest in plastics in the context of museum and gallery collections. It is suitable for recent graduates and more experienced professionals who wish to enhance their knowledge of plastics. This will include anyone involved in collections management including curators, conservators, gallery assistants.
Course Description
Through lectures and using examples from the West Dean Collection and a handling collection, you will see how plastic materials were first introduced to the world and how their profile has changed over time. By the end of the course you will have learned about the historical development of plastics, where they commonly occur in collections, and have an awareness of their varying instabilities. The need to identify will be demonstrated and different approaches to identification will be discussed. Through a practical examination session, you will develop your awareness of the variety of plastics materials available and their different properties which may aid identification. You should also be able to identify the five most unstable materials and thus protect your collection.

At the end of this course students will have learned about the different types of plastics commonly found in heritage collections.


West Dean College