The Arts University College at Bournemouth is a specialist university college in art, design, media and performance. The Museum of Design in Plastics is located in the library and was set up in 1988 as a collection of objects for learning and teaching entitled the Design Collection. It includes a diverse collection of items of everyday design including fashion and costume, printed ephemera, packaging, domestic design, and other items representing popular culture.
Following a decision to focus on plastics the collection changed its name to the Museum of Design in Plastics (MoDiP) in 2007, and in the following year obtained full accreditation under the Museums, Libraries, and Archives Council's scheme. MoDiP is now acknowledged as the UK's leading resource for the study and interpretation of design in plastics. The collection consists of 9000 items complemented by the loan of the Plastics Historical Society Collection, and together the collections present an in depth history of the use of synthetic plastics since their invention in the middle of the 19th century up to the present day.
The first digital images of the collections were created in the early 2000s and were used within an e-learning module created for the Designing Britain project. In 2004, the museum led an AHRC funded project that resulted in the collaborative website plasticsnetwork.org, which consists of an online record of 650 artefacts from the collections.
In 2008 the museum received funding from JISC to build on this earlier work and undertake a project which enabled the digitisation of over 1500 objects from the collections. These newly digitised items have been made available through VADS and will also be made available via a new website for the museum which is currently being developed, and the museum intends to extend the number of digitised artefacts further in the future.