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Subject: Exhibiting paper

Exhibiting paper

From: Patricia S. Griffin <cuprorivaite<-a>
Date: Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Has anyone researched/evaluated exhibition mounting tapes? What
methods do you recommend for display of fragile historic paper

Currently the majority of our historic paper artifacts are
encapsulated and secured to archival board using 3M double stick
tape.  This is in turn adhered to a display support using some
variety of double stick foam tape.  I have seen both the white foam
tape and the black foam tape used to adhere the board to a support;
I do not know what brand was used.

I have no idea whether tape use has been consistent over the past
several years.  I have noticed the following on the few artifacts
that have come off view in the past few months:

The double stick tape used to adhere the mylar encapsulation to the
archival board has considerable tack, requiring too much
force/manipulation in my opinion if removal of the encapsulation is

Sometimes the double stick tape appears to have aged making removal
from the encapsulation impossible; therefore the encapsulation has
to be redone, necessitating extra handling of fragile artifacts.

The white foam tape ages and deteriorates as indicated by strong
yellowing and embrittlement.  The examples of the black tape used
appear stable.  Neither tape is easy to remove from the archival
board backings and must be sliced/torn off.

Thus far I have recommended incorporating more frame-type housings
into the displays which would mean matting the encapsulation and
determining the best framing style for the display area.  Because of
the aesthetic and layout of the displays there is not a lot of
architectural wall space to hang frames. Therefore, I would
appreciate hearing about options for using frame-type housings that
are not hung, as well as methods for creating attractive display
walls or pylons within an integrated historic display.

For the attachment of encapsulations to the backing board regardless
of whether the artifact is framed, I recommended switching to mylar
strips at the corners (double stick taped on the back of the
support); these would hold the encapsulation and ensure easy removal
if needed.  I was told that in the past encapsulated paper has
slumped out of the corners whilst on view; my immediate solution was
to use a small tab of double-stick tape on the fourth corner of the

To reiterate, I am interested in double stick tape recommendations
for use in displays, both foam tape and adhesive tape.  I am also
interested in good solutions for the display of flat historic paper
artifacts.  Finally I am interested in cost-effective and attractive
ways to incorporate framed artifacts in displays without hanging
them on a architectural wall.

Patricia Griffin
Objects Conservator
Indiana State Museum

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:5
                  Distributed: Thursday, July 17, 2008
                        Message Id: cdl-22-5-019
Received on Wednesday, 2 July, 2008

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