May 26, 2022

Walt Disney Animation Research Library And Getty Conservation Institute Announce Second Phase Of Animation Cel Conservation Project

From The Getty:

The Walt Disney Animation Research Library (ARL) and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) announced today the second phase of their ongoing collaborative research into the conservation of Disney animation cels. Over the course of a four-year project, scientists and conservators from the ARL and the GCI will investigate optimal storage conditions for cels, as well as strategies for re-attaching flaked and delaminated paints to the plastic surface. The continued research is made possible by a generous contribution from The Walt Disney Company, as well as funds provided by the GCI.


The ARL and GCI began their collaboration 2009, when the ARL provided access to over 200,000 cels from the 1920s to 1989 in their climate-controlled facility in Glendale, CA. Researchers analyzed and differentiated three types of plastic used to produce animation cels – cellulose nitrate, cellulose acetate, and Mylar (polyester). They also assessed the condition of sample cels, and observed yellowing, warping, cracking, shrinking, and delamination of paint, and in some cases were able to correlate the extent of deterioration with the specific composition of the cels.

To tackle these conservation concerns, scientists and conservators will determine optimum storage conditions for cels, considered the most important factor in the overall strategy for preserving the collection. While there is much research regarding the best storage conditions for plastics, the conditions need to be tested on the paints used on cels, and most importantly, on the combination of plastics and paint. This research will be aided by the ARL’s well-documented and standardized library of paint formulas that have been used for several decades. Cels will also be separated according to plastic type in order to prevent additional damage.

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement

See Also: Cel Conservation Project Info Page

See Also: Walt Disney Animation Research Library Facebook Page

UPDATE: A bit more about the project via the NY Times

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.