An Indispensable New Reference on Plastics for Conservation Professionals

Posted on Thu, 08/11/2022 - 17:42

This accessible volume is destined to become a trusted resource in the field.

LOS ANGELES, CA– Plastics have become one of the most ubiquitous materials in manufacturing and design. Given the ease of mass-producing the material, plastic objects can be found in virtually every museum around the world. Research initiatives and knowledge concerning the conservation of plastics have rapidly increased over the last twenty-five years, creating a need for a thorough and comprehensive resource.

Properties of Plastics: A Guide for Conservators (Getty Conservation Institute, $70) is an accessible volume that offers conservators and students the most essential information for understanding each of the main classes of plastics. In addition to the main chapters, Properties of Plastics contains fifty-six illustrated “fact sheets” which summarize the properties of plastics most commonly found in cultural heritage collections. Aimed at the hands-on museum practitioner, this book will assist professionals in understanding the aging and deterioration of plastic objects and help guide conservation strategies.

Thea B. van Oosten is a conservation scientist, educator, and internationally regarded expert on the behavior and properties of plastics. An authority on the conservation of plastic modern and contemporary art and design objects of cultural heritage, she is a former senior conservation scientist with the Cultural Heritage Agency in the Netherlands (RCE). She led the RCE’s effort in POPART, an international collaborative research project that addressed the preservation of plastic artifacts in museums. Van Oosten was also a former guest scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute. She is currently a freelance consultant for research into plastics and the conservation of modern and contemporary art. She resides in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Prepublication endorsements:
“The conservation of plastic objects is a new challenge for cultural heritage. This book, written by a recognized expert in the field, provides conservation students and conservators with the solid and comprehensive foundation needed to best care for our modern and contemporary heritage—a must-read text- and reference book!”—Bertrand Lavédrine, coordinator of the POPART project, Centre de Recherche sur la conservation, Paris
"Thea van Oosten's book Properties of Plastics: A Guide for Conservators is a book that all have been longing and waiting for in the field of modern and contemporary conservation. Finally, a publication is designed and written for conservators that makes the field of plastics more accessible. I feel this will become a valuable tool for conservation studios around the world.  The last chapter of the book and the fact sheets are my favorite parts of the book.  These individual snapshots of the most important and comprehensive plastics and elastomers will be incredibly useful and helpful to anyone interested in our field of conservation looking to have information at their fingertips.  Every conservation school, laboratory, or studio should have a copy of this important and significant publication on plastics."—Roger Griffith, Conservator/Owner of Two Sticks Inc.: Modern and Contemporary Conservation 


Publication Information:
Properties of Plastics: A Guide for Conservators
Thea B. van Oosten
Getty Conservation Institute  
320 pages, 7½ x 9¼  inches
251 color illustrations, 161 b&w illustrations; 15 tables
ISBN 978-1-60606-693-5       
US $70 / UK £55
Publication Date: August 30, 2022
Media Contact:
Sydney Almaraz-Neal, Getty Publications  
(310) 440-6536
About Getty Publications:
Getty Publications produces award-winning titles that result from or complement the work of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Conservation Institute, and Getty Research Institute. This wide variety of books covers the fields of art, photography, archaeology, architecture, conservation, and the humanities for both the general public and specialists. Publications include illustrated works on artists and art history, exhibition catalogues, works on cultural history, research on the conservation of materials and archaeological sites, scholarly monographs, critical editions of translated works, comprehensive studies of Getty's collections, and educational books on art to interest children of all ages.
Getty Publications  
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500  
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682