The plastic objects from our cultural heritage are material testimonies of our history, technology and industry. Still, in Portugal, there is no museum of plastics, and the collections are spread through private collectors and industries. The research project, "The Triumph of Bakelite - Contributions to a History of Plastics in Portugal", aims at creating this museum. To this end, the research work gave rise to the exhibition, "Plasticity - A History of Plastics in Portugal", in Museu de Leiria in 2019. This study focuses on the contribution of conservation science for the writing of this history and preparation of ca. 150 historical plastic objects for display. Bakelite, melamine, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and plasticized polyvinyl chloride are just a few examples of the polymers identified by infrared spectroscopy. This identification was crucial to tell the history of the plastics industry in Portugal. Both the spectra and characteristic absorption bands of each polymer are presented.
- Historical plastics Portuguese Industry History of technology Infrared spectroscopy Conservation and restoration