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Plastics Unwrapped

Dec. 1, 2012 – May 27, 2013

Can you imagine life before plastics? No waterproof raincoats? No plastic buckets? Humans existed without plastics for millennia. Now, we rely on plastics to meet our basic needs. They help keep us safe and healthy. They make our daily lives convenient in so many ways, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a world without them.

Only 50 years ago, we hardly used plastics. How did they go from being rare to being everywhere? Plastics Unwrapped, a new exhibit from the Burke Museum, explores how material culture was changed—rapidly and perhaps permanently—by plastics. Learn what life was like before plastics, how they are made, why they’re so convenient to use, and what happens after we throw them away.

Plastics were marketed as the “material of the future.” Now, that prediction has come true. They will stay in landfills and in our oceans for hundreds, if not thousands of years. In order to counter the impact of plastic waste, we need to rethink our relationship with plastics. Discover how, at Plastics Unwrapped. 

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