The Plastics Academy
A large and distinctively designed new gallery celebrating 140 years of achievement in the plastics industry has officially opened at the National Plastics Center (NPC). The gallery is the new home of the Plastics Hall of Fame, which was founded 30 years ago and has thus far honored 125 individuals for outstanding accomplishments in and for the industry.
Occupying a 1,100 sq.ft. room in the NPC facility at Leominster, the extensive exhibit includes multiple display stations, each presenting a number of mini-exhibits for individual Hall of Fame inductees, and a central display focusing on John Wesley Hyatt, who, as the inventor of celluloid in 1869, can be said to have founded the plastics industry. The mini-exhibit for each inductee includes a photo, biographical information, and an illustration or product which is emblematic of that person's achievement. Other decorative elements in the gallery include pillars of light in various colors and plastic flooring of colorful high-pressure laminate.
Initial reactions to the gallery by NPC visitors have focused on its impressive appearance and historical value, according to NPC president David P. Hahn. "The spaciousness and innovative design of the new exhibit affords ample scope for expansion as more Hall of Fame members are inducted," Hahn said. "We are asking supporters of the Plastic Center for additional contributions to fund a computerized archive of inductee memorabilia and a 'video wall' for audio-visual presentations."
Davis Design Associates, Inc., Fitchburg, MA, designed and constructed the new exhibit, which has been named the Willert Gallery after Hall of Fame inductee William H. Willert. Its $37,000 cost was paid for by patrons of the NPC.
Although the NPC is the permanent home of the Plastics Hall of Fame, a different organization, The Plastics Academy, is responsible for administering the Hall of Fame, including management of separate three-year cycles for induction of living and posthumous members, respectively. "We plan to induct up to nine living members at a banquet during the NPE trade show to be held in Chicago this June," said John R. Kretzschmar, president of the Plastics Academy.
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