O'Loughlin

PRESSURE SENSITIVE TAPES AND OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE

Elissa M. O'Loughlin
Associate Conservator
The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD


Historical evidence tells us that the first pressure sensitive tapes found their way into museums and onto Valuable artifacts soon after they became available in the late 1920's. Tape quickly became a ready tool used by those charged with the care and study of cultural treasures worldwide. Curators, librarians, archivists, archaeologists, collectors and art dealers applied tape to books, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, metal objects, archaeological finds, paper artifacts, textiles, glass and even unlikely materials such as mineral specimens and birds eggs. Tapes were used for repair, identification, and protection on an astounding array of museum collections. A conservative estimate of museum objects affected by tape must certainly number in the hundreds of thousands. One aspect of the situation is very clear--many individuals who cared for such valuable objects placed an enormous amount of faith in tape as the solution to a multitude of problems.

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