Artur Neves 

Research Summary

Celluloid, the first semisynthetic plastic, was an innovation of great importance. Invented in the 1870s, it is on its way to oblivion. This project will contribute to the preservation of its materiality and memory. A coactive relationship between the history of science and technology and conservation science will allow the correlation of the material’s original scientific and technological frame with its present condition. Developed by John W. Hyatt in the USA, this project will integrate American objects and focus will be given to the production methods of Hyatt’s companies. A study of celluloid’s impact in Portugal has never been explored. Celluloid’s history in Portugal and the objects found will be compared with the American case study. Source research and reconstructions will allow degradation studies related to the commercialized celluloid.  Early warning tools and innovative treatments will be pursued. This project aims to the implementation of a “pre-historic plastics” museum/exhibition in Portugal.

PhD Project Title: Cellulose nitrate objects in collections: history of science and technology hand in hand with conservation of cultural heritage.

Supervisors: Maria João Melo (LAQV-Requimte, DCR FCT NOVA, Portugal), Maria Elvira Callapez (CIUHCT, FCUL UL, Portugal), Robert Friedel (Department of History, University of Maryland, USA)