Wednesday, 16 July 2014

South West Federation Training Day

Last week, MoDiP ran a training day as part of the South West Federation of Museums' 'Museum Skills Programme'. 20 delegates came to find out about identifying and caring for the plastics objects that they have in their collections.

Pam, our Collections Manager, started the day with a presentation about the milestones in the development of plastics materials.  She looked at natural plastics, semi-synthetics, and synthetic examples.

The delegates settling down ready for the first presentation.
We showed objects made of early plastics including horn (a natural plastic), Bois Durci, and Shellac.
I then demonstrated some of the resources that we have on our website, in particular the Curator's Guide to Plastics and the Identifying Plastics Toolkit which has both a physical and digital existence.

During the second half of the day we had the delegates identifying the materials that some of our objects are made of.

The activity based on the Toolkit
Some materials were easier than others, but it did seem that all the delegates engaged with the objects with great enthusiasm.  

Delegates discussing the material characteristics present in the objects.

Googling tradenames can be a great first step in identifying materials.
Pam concluded the day by looking at the best way to look after materials, information about which can be found on our website.

We would like to thank all the delegates for joining us, and for taking part in the activity with such zest.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

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