A plastics industry icon is being honored at a museum filled with icons from his own collection.
The Icon Museum and Study Center has named its main display room the Gordon B. Lankton Gallery in honor of Lankton, the former owner of Nypro Inc., who used his own collection of religious artwork to create the heart of the museum in Clinton, Mass.
The new name came as the museum also changed its name from the Museum of Russian Icons in recognition of icons from other regions of Eastern Europe.
Lankton purchased what was then called Nylon Products Corp. in 1962. As Nypro, it had more than 5,500 workers at 25 global locations when he sold it to employees via an employee stock ownership program in 1999. Lankton was named to the Plastics Hall of Fame in 2000. He died in 2021. Nypro was sold to Jabil in 2013.
Lankton began collecting religious icons even before Nypro. By the time he founded the museum, he had more than 340 pieces covering a range of subjects.
"The institution holds the most comprehensive collection of Russian icons in the U.S., as well as a growing collection of Greek, Veneto-Cretan and Ethiopian icons," the museum said in an Oct. 14 statement. "The permanent collection and temporary exhibitions offer unparalleled opportunities to situate Eastern Christian art within a global context and to explore its connection to contemporary concerns and ideas."
Lankton wasn't the only plastics industry executive to impact the art world. A. Reynolds Morse, a founder of Injection Molding Service Co.and key to the former Van Dorn Plastic Machinery Co., and his wife, Eleanor, were friends with surrealsist artist Salvador Dali. Their collection and donations became the backbone of the Dali museum in St. Petersburg, Fla.