Dating for animators
In this new location, the collection could be spread out, organized by film and year, and stored in archival containers.Today, the ARL collection comprises sixty-five million pieces of art, including more than two hundred thousand animation cels from the 1920s to 1989, when Walt Disney Studios released , its final full-length animated film made with handinked and painted cels.
Unfortunately, cellulose acetate was also found to degrade (albeit much more slowly than cellulose nitrate) by a chemical reaction called hydrolysis, which releases acetic acid, a pungent chemical commonly known as vinegar.
The collection also contains a small number of hand-drawn replica cels (some created after 1989) produced on polyester for commercial purposes or traveling exhibitions.
Preserving such a large collection presents the ARL conservation staff with a variety of challenges.
One challenge is identifying the type of plastic used for each cel.
Previously, visual and tactile clues had been the only methods available to the ARL.