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Friday, May 17 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
(Objects) Kapow! the Use Of Cosplay Materials In Museum Display Mounting

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Over the next five years, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum) will undergo large-scale renovations and redesigns of their Mexico and Central America, Africa, and Egypt and Nubia galleries. All these galleries will require the mounting and display of three-dimensional objects, costumes, flat textiles, and other artifacts. The ability to easily create and customize mounts and supports for all these artifacts will be paramount in making sure these galleries open on time and on budget, while ensuring everything is properly supported for display. The ideal mounting material would have good working properties, be non-toxic, low cost and reversible/reworkable. Recently, several companies have been producing proprietary thermoplastic materials specifically for the cosplay community. Cosplay, a contraction of the phrase costume play, is a term used to describe the creation and wearing of self-made costumes which depict a specific character, often from the realms of science fiction, fantasy, comics, and anime. A popular pastime for at least the last 75 years, cosplay costumes have been made from whatever materials were available to the maker. Now, these proprietary thermoplastics are produced for the creation of armor, weapons, headdresses, and other structural components of cosplay costumes. These materials have many of the same working properties we look for in conservation: non-toxic, low cost, reworkable, and require low heat and no solvents to shape. One of these materials already successfully utilized in conservation is Fosshape, a polyethylene terephthalate fabric. These properties would in theory make these cosplay materials extremely useful for conservation, particularly in the area of supports and mounts for artifact display. This paper will look at qualitative and quantitative evaluations of a number of currently available cosplay materials, including ease of manipulation, how well they hold a given shape, as well as measurable results from Oddy testing, A-D strips, and Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) analysis. The hope of this paper is to identify a new source of low-cost, easy to use materials which can be incorporated into the conservation toolbox, especially for museums and collections with limited funds for exhibits. For the Penn Museum, using thermoplastic cosplay materials would greatly improve the process of creation and installation of new galleries, and open up new possibilities for future displays.

avatar for Alexis North

Alexis North

Project Conservator, Penn Museum
Alexis North is the Williams Project Conservator at the Penn Museum, currently working on the Museum's renovation of their Mexico and Central America gallery. She is a graduate of the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program, and has worked at the Brooklyn Museum, the Michael C. Carlos Museum... Read More →

Friday May 17, 2019 3:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Salon B1, Uncas Ballroom
  Specialty Session, Objects
  • Track Objects
  • Ticketed Included in Main Registration
  • Authors in Publication Order Alexis North
  • Abstract ID 18858
  • Tags display,mounts,mounting,cosplay,Oddy testing,materials testing,new materials