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Rebecca Ploeger

Rebecca Ploeger

Assistant Professor
(716) 878-4646
Campus Addess: Rockwell Hall 230


Ph.D., Chemical Science: University of Torino, Italy

M.Sc.Eng., Engineering Chemistry: Queen's University, Kingston, Canada

B. Sc. Eng., Engineering Chemistry: Queen's University, Kingston, Canada

Rebecca Ploeger joined the Art Conservation Department in January 2014 as Assistant Professor in Conservation Science.  Before moving to Buffalo, she was a Charles E. Culpeper Advanced Training in Conservation Science fellow at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, in the Scientific Research Department, and collaborated as a guest researcher with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD.  Rebecca has a Master’s degree in Engineering Chemistry from Queen’s University, Canada, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Sciences from the University of Turin, Italy, both specializing in polymer materials in cultural heritage.  She was also a Lagrange Project post-doctoral fellowship recipient for the study of complex systems from the ISI Foundation (Regione Piemonte).  During her doctorate and post-doctorate studies in Italy, she collaborated with a number of conservators of modern and contemporary materials in Turin and Milan, along with museums in Turin and the Piedmont region. 

Dr. Ploeger’s main interests are in the design, characterization, and stability of synthetic and polymeric materials used by artists and conservators.  Her current research is focused on the development of a new consolidating adhesive for paintings and polychrome objects.  This is a collaborative project, and has brought together internationally recognized cultural institutions and universities in Italy, France, the Netherlands, and the USA.  She is also branching out in the local area, and working with Buffalo institutions, as well as some in Toronto, Canada.

Rebecca teaches the organic and polymer section of our conservation science curriculum and a course in preventive conservation.  In addition to the department, she has helped with the Shad Valley International Program (Queen’s University campus, Kingston Canada) in some capacity for the past 10 years, as a faculty member, guest lecturer, or program assistant.

Recent publications

Ploeger, R., de la Rie, E.R. and C.W. McGlinchey, Original and reformulated BEVA(R) 371: Composition and assessment as a consolidant for painted surfaces.  Studies in Conservation.

Ploeger, R., de la Rie, E.R., McGlinchey, C.W., Palmer, M., Maines, C.A., and O. Chiantore, The long-term stability of a popular heat-seal adhesive for the conservation of painted cultural objects. Polymer Degradation and Stability, 107 (2014) pp. 307-313. 

Pintus, V., Ploeger, R., Chiantore, O., Wei, S. and M. Schreiner, Thermal analysis of the interaction of inorganic pigments with p(nBA/MMA) acrylic emulsion before and after UV ageing, Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, 114(1) (2013) pp. 33-43.

Chiantore, O., Ploeger, R., Poli, T. and B. Ferriani, Materials and techniques in the pictorial oeuvre of Lucio Fontana, Studies in Conservation, 57(2) (2012) pp. 92-105(14).

Ploeger, R., Chiantore, O., Scalarone, D. and T. Poli, Mid-infrared fiber optic reflection spectroscopy analysis of artists’ alkyd paints on different supports, Applied Spectroscopy, 65(4) (2011) pp. 429-435.

Ploeger, R. and R. Verteramo, Decorative plastic hair combs from the late 1800s to 1950s, Plastiquarian: Journal of the Plastics Historical Society, 42 (2010) pp. 1-3.

Ploeger, R., Scalarone, D. and O. Chiantore, Non-invasive characterisation of binding media on painted glass magic lantern plates using mid-infrared fibre optic reflectance spectroscopy, Journal of Cultural Heritage, 11 (2010) pp. 35-41.

Ploeger, R., Scalarone, D. and O. Chiantore, Thermal analytical study of the oxidative stability of artists’ alkyd paints, Polymer Degradation and Stability, 94 (2009) pp. 2036-2041.  

Ploeger, R., Musso, S. and O. Chiantore, Contact angle measurements to determine the rate of surface oxidation of artists’ alkyd paints during accelerated photo-ageing,  Progress in Organic Coatings, 65(1) (2009) pp. 77-83.  

Ploeger, R., Scalarone, D. and O. Chiantore, The characterization of commercial artists’ alkyd paints, Journal of Cultural Heritage, 9 (2008) pp. 412-419.   

Recent presentations

Ploeger, R., McGlinchey, C. and E.R. de la Rie, Deconstructing and Reconstructing a Popular Art Conservation Adhesive BEVA® 371, October 12-16, 2014, Materials Science & Technology 2014, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Taylor, C. and R. Ploeger, The Effects of Light Bleaching on Optical Brightening Agents in Contemporary Printmaking Papers, July 1-5, 2014, 3rd International Congress- Chemistry for Cultural Heritage, Vienna, Austria

Ploeger, R., de la Rie, E. R. and C. McGlinchey, Consolidating Adhesives for the Conservation of Painted Cultural Objects – A New Research Initiative, October 23-25, 2013, Cultural Heritage Conservation Science and Sustainable Development, Paris, France

Ploeger, R., de la Rie, E. R., McGlinchey, C., Forster, A and D. Hunston, Consolidating adhesives for the conservation of paintings: the development of new heat-seal adhesives, March 3-6, 2013, Adhesion Society Annual Meeting, Daytona Beach, FL, USA 

Ploeger, R., McGlinchey, C. and E. R. de la Rie, The choice of consolidating materials: Concerns and solutions, November 16-17, 2012, CESMAR7: Colore e Conservazione 6, Parma, Italy

McGlinchey, C., Ploeger, R., Colombo, A., Simonutti, R., Palmer, M., Chiantore, O., Proctor, R., Lavédrine, B. and E. R. de la Rie, Lining and consolidating adhesives: some new developments and areas of future research, October 17-21, 2011,Symposium 2011- Adhesives and Consolidants for Conservation: Research and applications, Ottawa, Canada, paper available online at:

Ploeger, R., and O. Chiantore, Characterisation and stability issues of artists’ alkyd paints, New Insights Into the Cleaning of Paintings (Cleaning 2010), May 26-28, 2010, Valencia, Spain

Ploeger, R., Scalarone, D., and O. Chiantore, Shedding Light on the Compositions of Artists’ Alkyd Paint Resins Using Py-GC/MS and THM-GC/MS, Mass Spectroscopy and Chromatography users group (MaSC),  London, UK

Ploeger, R., Scalarone, D. and O. Chiantore, Non-invasive mid-Infrared Fibre Optic Reflectance Spectroscopy Analysis of Painted Glass Magic Lantern Plates, ART2008 (Non-destructive Investigation and Analysis), Jerusalem, Israel

Ploeger, R., Scalarone, D. and O. Chiantore, The characterization of artists’ alkyd paints on different supports using mid-IR FORS, Infrared and Raman Users Group 8 (IRUG 8), Vienna, Austria

Ploeger, R., Murray, A., Hesp, S. and D. Scalarone, Morphological changes and rates of leaching of water-soluble material from artists’ acrylic paint films during aqueous immersions,  Proceedings from the Modern Paints Uncovered Symposium, May 16-19, 2006, Tate Modern, London. J. Paul Getty Trust, USA, (2007) pp. 201-207.    

Recent invited lectures 

Consolidating Adhesives for the Conservation of Painted Cultural Objects, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, October 27, 2013. 

Consolidating Adhesives for the Conservation of Painted Cultural Objects: A New Research Initiative, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 27, 2013. 

Consolidating Adhesives for the Conservation of Painted Cultural Objects: A New Research Initiative, University of Turin, Italy, April 8, 2013 

Research into consolidating adhesives, Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections, Paris, France, September 25, 2012.

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Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department

1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Rockwell Hall 230 •  Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878-5025 •  Fax: (716) 878-5039