Methodology and contributors

Confronting plastics preservation is a Plastics Subject Specialist Network (Plastics SSN) project and resource funded by Arts Council England. It draws on an earlier Plastics SSN project A curator's guide to plastics. It has been developed by the Museum of Design in Plastics with the Plastics SSN.


In order to make the resource as useful as possible, it was developed in a series of collaborative stages, each one involving the museum community.

  • Stage one: a questionnaire/online survey was used to canvas opinions about how and what people wanted to learn, the kind of seminar they wanted and where it should be held. The results of this survey fed into the planning of stage 2.
  • Stage two: the Confronting plastics preservation seminar was held on 25 July 2014 at the Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London. Objects, information and expertise showcased at the seminar informed stage 3.
  • Stage three: creation and review of the online resource, Confronting plastics preservation. Its content was derived from the papers given at Stage two with additional input by Brenda Keneghan, Polymer Scientist, Victoria & Albert Museum, and Carla Flack, a 3D art and objects freelance conservator with experience of British Museum and Tate collections.


The online resource was devised and written by Susan Lambert, Museum of Design in Plastics. The scientific analysis of the objects was undertaken by Brenda Keneghan, Polymer Scientist, Victoria and Albert Museum, who also generously shared her expertise on the objects and how best to care for them. Carla Flack, a 3D art and objects freelance conservator with experience of British Museum and Tate collections, checked the texts for correctness and comprehensibility. The photographs were taken by Louise Dennis, Museum of Design in Plastics. The films were made by Emma Crouch, I say RAAR. Evaluation of the different stages of the project was undertaken by Rosie Crook, Working Heritage.

We would like to thank Steve Akhurst and Paul Meara for donating objects to the project. The following organisations have also contributed objects:

  • Hertford Museum
  • Leamington Spa Art Gallery
  • Science Museum, London
  • Museum of Design in Plastics
  • Science Museum
  • Plastics Historical Society
  • Toy Museum, Bletchley Park

Thank you to Sara Taylor, Vicki Slade, Fran Coles, Pam Langdown, Steve Akhurst, and Irene Cornelius, for facilitating these loans and donations.

The following attended the Confronting plastics preservation seminar. The discussions that took place were crucially influential in the development of the resource. Those in bold contributed papers and those with asterisks against their names contributed objects for discussion.

  • *Steve Akhurst, Plastics Historical Society
  • Paula Brikci, Arts Council England
  • Sara Cadinanos, Tate
  • *Deborah Cane, Birmingham Museums Trust
  • Caroline Cotgrove, National Trust
  • *Jo-Ann Curtis, Birmingham Museums Trust
  • *Louise Dennis, MoDiP
  • Terri Dewhurst, WH Conservation
  • Catherine Downey, National Trust
  • Carla Flack, Tate
  • Emma Hogath, Colchester Museum
  • *Ian Holdsworth, Plastics Historical Society
  • Danielle Jenkins, Tate
  • Mark Kearney, Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Sarah Jane Kenyon, Trowbridge Museum
  • *Pam Langdown, MoDiP
  • *Esther Lutman
  • Liz McFarlane, National Trust
  • *Paul Meara, Catalyst Science Discover Centre
  • Lizzie Miller, Bolton Library and Museums Services
  • Jacob Moss, The Fan Museum
  • Susan Mossman, Science Museum
  • *Michael O'Brien, Plastics Historical Society
  • Juliane Ovenden, National Horse Racing Museum
  • Mathew Philip, London Metropolitan University
  • Rachel Robbins, Tate
  • Shelley Tobin, Royal Albert Memorial & Art Gallery
  • Georgina Wesley, Tate
  • Wilson Keeley, National Trust Scotland

Trialling of the resource is ongoing. If you have any comments please contact