Polly: a reference object

A reference object constituted of different polymers in a shape of a doll so called ‘Polly’ was conceived in the framework of the project and display in order to assess and monitor changes and degradations during natural ageing in different environmental conditions.

It was a low-technological method for comparing the rates of degradation of plastics in different environments. In the previous paragraph actual cases of deterioration that were found in different museums have been reported. However, one of the main issues that is of interest for conservators and curators is to assess which kinds of plastics are most vulnerable to deterioration and to what extent they can deteriorate under the environmental conditions normally encountered in museums.

Although, one might expect that real time deterioration could be ascertained by a careful investigation of museum objects on display or in storage, real objects or artworks may not sampled due to ethical considerations. Their pre-collection history is often unknown. Finally, permanent monitoring disturbs the aesthetic environment of the object whilst on display.