Murals are paintings applied directly to a flat surface (wall or ceiling) in an architectural setting. Every mural conservation brings a unique set of problems to be resolved, due to location, material construction, size, past history, condition, goals, timing, and budget. They often are over-sized, requiring scaffolding to access for testing and treatment. We treated our first murals in 1976 when we rescued wall-to-wall murals in the J. R. Clancy Headquarters (a scenic theater production company), which was about to be demolished. We have successfully treated murals in situ and at our lab from as far away as San Francisco.
Today, West Lake Conservators welcome new mural projects. Our senior conservators bring a wealth of experience, gained treating many murals together since the first. If necessary, the removal of murals takes patience, skill, and teamwork. We are prepared to travel to treat works in situ or remove them from their walls to treat at our lab.
Special Considerations for Mural Removal
With almost half the murals we have treated requiring removal and lining, West Lake Conservators are uniquely qualified to help with your project. Many murals we have worked on were Works Public Administration (WPA) Era murals from 1930s – 1940s, over-sized and created to be located in public spaces. Typically, the facility would be undergoing renovation because either the building and/or mural’s condition were deteriorated. If the mural requires removal, we will follow a reliable process that includes the application of a facing material to facilitate the conservation process. If reinstallation is required, and appropriate, inert supportive lining would be applied to the back of the mural. After treatment, the lined mural can then be re-installed at its new location. As an added benefit, a lined mural can be uninstalled in the future possibly saving on future treatment costs.