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Rebecca Ploeger

Rebecca Ploeger, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
(716) 878-5025
Campus Address: 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., Shugar, A., Smith, G.D., and V.J. Chen. Late 19th century accounts of Indian yellow: the analysis of samples from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Dyes and Pigments. 160 (2018) pp. 418-431.

Ploeger, R., Differential Scanning Calorimetry for Art Conservation Graduate Students: A Practical Laboratory Exercise using Polymer Blends. Journal of Chemical Education. 95 (2018) pp. 1192-1197.

Alcantara-Garcia, J., and R. Ploeger. Teaching polymer chemistry to (art conservation) graduate students. Journal of Chemical Education. 95 (2018) pp. 1118-1124.

Ploeger, R., del Grosso, C., Poulis, J.A., Cimino, D., Poli, T., de la Rie, E.R., and C.W. McGlinchey. Consolidating adhesive project. MRS Advances. 2(33-34) (2017) pp. 1731-1741.

Harada K.R., Shugar A., and R. Ploeger. Experimentation in Manufacturing Zinc Orange Pigment. MRS Advances. 2(39-40) (2017) pp. 2135-2143.

Schmidt, P., Shugar A., and R. Ploeger. Analytical Observations Regarding Butvar B98 and Paraloid B72 Blends as a Suitable Adhesive in Hot Climates. MRS Advances. 2(35-36) (2017) pp. 1927-1941.

Harada, T., Spence, S., Margiolakis, A., Deckoff-Jones, S., Ploeger, R., Shugar, A., Hamm, J.F., Dani K.M., and A. R. Dani. Obtaining Cross-Sections of Paint Layers in Cultural Artifacts Using Femtosecond Pulsed Lasers. Materials. 10(2) (2017) doi: 10.3390/ma10020107

Ploeger, R., and A. Shugar. The story of Indian yellow – excreting a solution. Journal of Cultural Heritage. 24 (2017) pp. 197-205.

Ploeger, R., and A. Shugar. Where science meets art. Science. 354(6314) (2016) pp. 826-828.

Cimino, D., Chiantore, O., de la Rie, E.R., McGlinchey, C.W., Ploeger, R., Poli, T., and J.A. Poulis. Binary mixtures of ethylene containing copolymers and low molecular weight resins: a new approach towards specifically tuned art conservation products. International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives. 67 (2016) 54-62.

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. 60(4) (2015) pp. 217-226.

Recent presentations

Ploeger, R., Teaching polymer chemistry to art conservation graduate students.  August 19-23, 2018, 256th American Chemical Society Meeting and Exposition – POLY session, Boston, MA.

Ploeger, R., Shugar, A., and M. Lavelle, The evolution of conservation science education in the United States over the past 50 years.  July 3-8, 2018, Chemistry in Cultural Heritage (ChemCH) 2018, Bucharest, Romania

Shugar, A., Ploeger, R., Spendel, K., Harada, K., and S. Goodman, A tale of two pigments: the characterization and synthesis of Indian yellow, and zinc orange from Toulouse-Lautrec’s early palette, May 2-6, 2017, Technart, Bilbao, Spain.

Ploeger, R., Consolidating adhesive project, November 27- December 2, 2016, Materials Research Society (MRS), Boston, MA

Spendel, K., Goodman, M.S., Ploeger, R. and A. Shugar, Preparation of synthetic Indian yellow, November 27- December 2, 2016,Materials Research Society (MRS), Boston, MA

Shugar A., and R. Ploeger, The identification of natural Indian Yellow and other historic late 19th century pigments from the Toulouse-Lautrec estate in France. May 13-17, 2016, American Institute for Conservation (AIC), Montreal, QB, Canada

Shugar, A., and R. Ploeger, The evolution of art conservation science education in the United States, ICOM-CC Conservation Science and Education, April 13-14, 2016, Cambridge, MA

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