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Art Study Center Seminar at Home: Plastics in the Collections

A large, wide wooden box is open, showing five equal sections filled with plastic foods, including vegetables, crackers, cookies, pastries, and a chocolate donut. Two sunny-side up eggs and a slice of bacon are fixed above the inside cover of the box.
Claes Oldenburg, American, Designed by George Maciunas, American, Published by Fluxus, American, False Food Selection, 1966. Wooden box with offset printed label, containing readymade plastic foods. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Barbara and Peter Moore Fluxus Collection, Margaret Fisher Fund and gift of Barbara Moore/Bound & Unbound, M26457. © Claes Oldenburg.


Since we are unable to welcome you into the museums at this time, we are bringing our experts to you in an online series, Art Study Center Seminars at Home.

Since the early 20th century, plastic has been a popular material for many artists due to its ability to be transformed—bent, shaped, molded, stretched. However, when works made with plastic enter a museum collection, they bring numerous challenges. Join conservation scientist Georgina Rayner and conservator Susan Costello to learn more about the materials, condition and treatment issues, and the demands this material poses for storage and display.

Led by:
Susan Costello, Associate Conservator of Objects and Sculpture, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies

Georgina Rayner, Associate Conservation Scientist, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies

This virtual seminar will take place online via Zoom. Free admission, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.

You will receive an email confirming your registration along with a Zoom link and password for the program. If you have any questions, please contact

For instructions on how to join a meeting in Zoom, please click here.

Please check our Harvard Art Museums from Home page for a full list of online programs and a rich array of digital content on offer while the museums are closed. Receive regular updates by subscribing to our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.