The Conservation of Plastics in Collections: a challenging path


Anna Lagana

Streaming Media

Document Type



Spring 4-6-2022


Brodsky Series, Library Conservation, Anna Lagana, Plastics conservation, library science




Archival Science | Art and Materials Conservation | Library and Information Science


Anna Laganà, Senior Research Specialist in the conservation of plastics at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), presented at Syracuse University Libraries’ annual Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation. Laganà’s lecture, titled “The Conservation of Plastics in Collections: a challenging path” was held virtually on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

Since their introduction at the beginning of the twentieth century, plastics have been extensively used to make an infinite variety of objects. It is not surprising then to find plastics everywhere in our daily life, including our museum and libraries collections where they form a significant part of our cultural heritage. Unfortunately, these materials were not designed to last forever; over the last thirty years plastics have shown to be challenging to preserve. The lecture introduced issues and challenges that plastics pose in collections and discussed current approaches for their conservation and preservation through the presentation of research findings and case studies.

Anna Laganà is a Senior Research Specialist in the conservation of plastics at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), where she leads projects, including the investigation of treatment options for plastics in collections and develops workshops on their conservation. Before joining the GCI, Anna had the opportunity to manage her own company and work within larger institutions in varied roles, including as Coordinator of the Contemporary Art Conservation Laboratory at the Centro Conservazione Restauro la Venaria Reale in Turin, as a conservator/researcher at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands conducting research on plastics conservation, and as a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam coordinating the Postgraduate program 1 (PI1) in Conservation of Modern and Contemporary Art. Since September 2020 she is the Coordinator for the Modern Materials and Contemporary Art Working Group of ICOM-CC. Laganà has published extensively on the conservation of plastics and has disseminated her research internationally through professional development workshops for conservators.