Antoine Pevsner’s Portrait of Marcel Duchamp as it appeared, left, shortly after its creation in 1926, and in 2009, right.

Though “plastic” has now largely overcome its The Graduate-era connotation of “necessarily cheap, fake, and ephemeral,” it remains the case that plastic objects—especially those manufactured early in the history of plastics technology—present unusual challenges for long-term conservation. As a dabbling ray gun collector, I’ve poked around in this area a bit, trying to figure out the best way to display my collection under conditions designed to control degradation. Not wanting to spend a bunch of money on a specialist text written and priced for professional conservators, however, I have found that this pamphlet from the National Park Service provides a great overview of the subject, but with plenty of specific detail to satisfy my needs as a hobbyist.