Friday, 15 December 2017

Guess the Object

MoDiP has the kind of collection that you may think you are very familiar with. We have objects which we all use every day, and some pieces which are more unusual.

By looking at this distorted image are you able to guess what the object is? What do you think it could be used for?


Post your answer in the comments below or to find the answer click here and you will be taken to the MoDiP catalogue.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

12 days of MoDiP


In the spirit of the season we bring you the 12 days of MoDiP


On the first day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a pear shaped storage box
Qualy Pear Pod

On the second day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a Ninja Turtle figure

On the third day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a pair of hen egg cups

On the fourth day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a calling telephone

On the fifth day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a silicone and diamond ring

On the sixth day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a set of geese measuring spoons

Avon geese measuring spoons

On the seventh day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a swan watering can

On the eighth day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a Swedish milk jug

On the ninth day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a dancing dust pan and brush

Dancing dust pan and brush

On the tenth day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a leaping M&M
Leaping M&M tube topper


On the eleventh day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a penny whistle
Penny whistle


On the twelfth day of Christmas MoDiP gave to you a cast phenol gavel
Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Monday, 11 December 2017

BXL photographic archive #0139

In 2010, MoDiP was donated a large archive of images relating to a single company. Bakelite Xylonite Ltd, also known as British Xylonite Ltd or BXL, was possibly one of the first British firms to successfully manufacture a plastics material in commercial quantities. The company was established in 1875 and after a long history went into liquidation in the late 2000s. The images we have in the collection are concentrated around the 1960s through to the 1980s and show us glimpses of the manufacturing process, products and the company’s employees during this time. We plan to share an image each week to give a flavour of the archive. If you want to see more you can view the whole collection on our website.

This week’s image shows a PVC bag.

To get a better view of the image and find out more have a look at it on our website http://www.modip.ac.uk/artefact/bxl--1406

We are still working on the documentation of the archive, some of the images we know more about than others. It would be fantastic if we could fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge, if you know anything about the company or specific images it would be good to hear from you.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 8 December 2017

Horners collection

The Museum of Design in Plastics houses two collections alongside our own.  One of these collections is that of the Worshipful Company of Horners.   

Here I will highlight just one of the objects in the collection.


Unfinished horn section

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Monday, 4 December 2017

A different view #67

There are many ways to look at the objects in the MoDiP collection.  With this series of posts I want to highlight the interesting views of objects that we may ordinarily miss.  These include the underside of an object, the surface pattern, or traces of manufacturing processes.


Title: Classic Safety Hat
Designer: Unknown
Manufacturer: Centurion Safety Products
Object number: AIBDC : 007105


Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 1 December 2017

Guess the Object

MoDiP has the kind of collection that you may think you are very familiar with. We have objects which we all use every day, and some pieces which are more unusual.

By looking at this distorted image are you able to guess what the object is? What do you think it could be used for?


Post your answer in the comments below or to find the answer click here and you will be taken to the MoDiP catalogue.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Monday, 27 November 2017

BXL photographic archive #0138

In 2010, MoDiP was donated a large archive of images relating to a single company. Bakelite Xylonite Ltd, also known as British Xylonite Ltd or BXL, was possibly one of the first British firms to successfully manufacture a plastics material in commercial quantities. The company was established in 1875 and after a long history went into liquidation in the late 2000s. The images we have in the collection are concentrated around the 1960s through to the 1980s and show us glimpses of the manufacturing process, products and the company’s employees during this time. We plan to share an image each week to give a flavour of the archive. If you want to see more you can view the whole collection on our website.

This week’s image shows a Warerite toilet table.
To get a better view of the image and find out more have a look at it on our website http://www.modip.ac.uk/artefact/bxl--0922

We are still working on the documentation of the archive, some of the images we know more about than others. It would be fantastic if we could fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge, if you know anything about the company or specific images it would be good to hear from you.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 24 November 2017

PHS collection

The Museum of Design in Plastics house two collections alongside our own.  One of these collections is that of the Plastics Historical Society.   

Here I will highlight just one of the objects in the collection.


Orange framed sunglasses
Designer : Unknown

Manufacturer : Twinco


Date : 1950 (circa)
Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Monday, 20 November 2017

A different view #66

There are many ways to look at the objects in the MoDiP collection.  With this series of posts I want to highlight the interesting views of objects that we may ordinarily miss.  These include the underside of an object, the surface pattern, or traces of manufacturing processes.


Title: Rectangular cruet and stand
Designer: Unknown
Manufacturer: Unknown
Object number: AIBDC : 006961


Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 17 November 2017

Guess the object

MoDiP has the kind of collection that you may think you are very familiar with. We have objects which we all use every day, and some pieces which are more unusual.

By looking at this distorted image are you able to guess what the object is? What do you think it could be used for?


Post your answer in the comments below or to find the answer click here and you will be taken to the MoDiP catalogue.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Volunteering at MoDiP


I joined MoDiP back in September as part of a three-month volunteer role. I wanted to get some hands-on experience in a museum, working with the Collections team.

Since the big move to the New Museum Space, an important job has been to perform location audits to ensure that we know where the objects are. And so, I have been carrying out location audits on the Worshipful Company of Horner’s collection, and the museum’s own collection. This has given me the opportunity to really get to know the collection and learn more about the different materials, production methods, and the variety and number of different objects which are made from plastic. This has caused a few throwback moments to my childhood, such as jelly shoes! There have also been some interesting finds in the 80s and 90s clothing range, with some pretty spectacular knitted jumper designs! 


Knitted jumper from the MoDiP collection.



Knitted jumper from the MoDiP collection.

This exercise has also provided the opportunity to do condition checks on the objects, giving me some insight into the preventive conservation work which goes on behind the scenes. I was surprised to discover the level of degradation that occurs with plastics. I have seen the breaking down of plastic first-hand now, with delamination in horn, and the sugar effect that occurs with cellulose nitrate. The problem with plastics is that degradation of plastics materials may have been triggered before the objects came into the care of the museum, but the results don’t manifest for years! We cannot be sure what chemicals and materials have been used in the manufacturing process, and so they can be relatively unpredictable. These objects are then placed in the hospital cupboard to isolate them from the other objects. This is due to the possibility of them off-gassing and thereby affected the rest of the collection. Here too, their deterioration can be monitored. 

Condition checking objects from the collection of the Worshipful Company of Horners.

All of this has proven the importance of accurate documentation. The museum’s collection contains over 14,000 objects, and so without proper documentation there would be utter chaos. I have been learning the correct procedures for documentation and how to use MODES, a common database used by a lot of museums. Because we have been moving objects into the new museum- including shopping bags, newspapers, and LPs - this has meant that I have had to update over 1000 files on the database. This has taken a long time, but has given me a sense of achievement as I have now completed this task! This move has proven interesting as we came across masks used in the 1999 film Entrapment starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones! Going through the LPs also provided some entertainment as a game of ‘Guess that Song’ ensued with Katherine and Pam.

I have also been given the opportunity to attend the team’s weekly meetings, which has allowed me to listen in and learn about the work and effort which goes into the museum and their exhibitions. Currently, the discussion has been around the new permanent exhibition ‘About Plastics’, which goes up in the New Year. There has been a lot of brain storming about what is going to appear in the display and what the areas of focus are going to be in the story of Plastics. I have even been able to suggest a few ideas, with some being taken on board, and so I have been helping Katherine with research and acquiring objects for the collection. 


About Plastics. An exhibition coming to MoDiP soon.


As the only volunteer currently, I have been able to help Katherine, giving ideas for a volunteer information pack for potential new volunteers. I would highly recommend volunteering for MoDiP. It is such a rewarding experience, working and learning from the team - Susan, Pam, Louise, Katherine, and Sarah - who have been so welcoming and have been teaching me so much!

Kerry Mitchell (MoDiP volunteer)