The Transparent Figures are the most well-known exhibition objects of the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum and were presented to millions of people in the 20th century in the most varied exhibition formats. The transparent models were primarily made of the plastic cellulose acetate, which is subject to pronounced ageing processes. The body models were examined and a concept for their long-term preservation was created in the conservation science research project “Transparent Figures – Exhibition Icons of the 20th Century”. The knowledge concerning the production and material history acquired, as well as of ageing processes and possibilities for conservation are presented in this publication. This is joined by recommendations for dealing with three-dimensional cellulose acetate objects in museums and collections.
In addition to this, more than 60 historical objects from the “Transparent Figures” collection set will be presented. The focus is thereby on the curricula vitae of the twelve complete figures found in the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, which were manufactured between 1935 and 2000 and have all undergone the transformation from the display model to the historically important object. The evaluation potential of other object groups with regard to manufacturing technology and the exhibition history of the figures, as well as to the presentation and advertising strategies are also illuminated.