Post Office Murals
The majority of post office murals are located in small towns across the country and Parma has been working on site in these towns for 15 years. In addition to conserving the murals, an important part of our work lies in public outreach, connecting with schools, historical societies, and the public at large. We encourage groups of students, of all ages, to visit us while we are working. This is a great opportunity for them to learn about New Deal art, the conservation process, and why this mural in their town is historically important. These informal presentations have become an integral part of Parma’s on location services.

If you know of a post office mural in need of attention, please contact our laboratory or Dallan C. Wordekemper at USPS.
Cranford Post Office Mural before conservation Cranford Post Office Mural after conservation
Cranford, NJ

Gerald Foster
"Crossing of Crane's Ford"
Oil on Canvas
5' x 70'

The conservation of Gerald Foster’s epic mural, “The Battle of Cranford in the American Revolution” proved to be one of Parma’s greatest challenges, and ultimately, one of its great successes. Well meaning, but improper restoration attempts by artists in the 1960’s had greatly compromised the mural’s originality and state of preservation. Literally hundreds of holes and tears, and heavy grotesque overpaint blanketed this 70’ long mural. The corrective cleaning and conservation required 9 months to complete, but the result was well worth it.

Mural detail during and after conservation

Will Rogers mural before conservation
Will Rogers mural after conservation
Claremore, OK

Randall Davey
"Will Rogers"
Tempera on Canvas
5' x 12'

In the 1980’s, this mural was ripped from the lobby wall during a remodeling campaign. Luckily, the Will Rogers Memorial Museum rescued it from the trash. In very poor condition, it languished in storage for over 30 years.

In 2004, Parma Conservation arrived at the museum to personally transport the mural to the laboratory for testing, analysis, and conservation. With numerous tears and planar distortions to the canvas, it was fully restored to its original integrity and appearance. After reinstallation there was a rededication ceremony at the Claremore post office, in commemoration of the 125th anniversary of Will Roger’s birth.

Mural before and after conservation

Dorothea Mierish, Post Office Mural in McCleansboro, IL before conservation
Dorothea Mierish, Post Office Mural in McCleansboro, IL after conservation
McCleansboro, IL

Dorothea Mierish
"First Official Air Mail Flight"
Oil on Canvas
5' x 14'

This vibrant mural was structurally in excellent condition but seven decades of dirt, grime, and fossil fuel emissions had left the surface drab and void of detail. Meticulous cleaning brought virtual daylight to the work, revealing the true color, detail, and luminosity.

Mural before and after conservation

Bernard Gussow, Recreation Hours, Post Office Mural in East Rochester, NY
Bernard Gussow, Recreation Hours, Post Office Mural in East Rochester, NY
East Rochester, NY

Bernard Gussow
"Recreation Hours"
Oil on Canvas
5’ x 14’

In the early 1960’s this mural was removed from the wall and put in storage. Proper precautions were not taken during the removal process, resulting in the diagonal pattern of paint loss. Murals should be removed only when absolutely necessary and under the guidance of professional conservators.

Mural detail before and after conservation
Fred G. Carpenter, Post Office Mural in Paris, MO
Fred G. Carpenter, Post Office Mural in Paris, MO
Paris, MO

Fred G. Carpenter
"The Clemens Family Arrives in Monroe County"
Oil on Canvas
4' x 12'

Extensive flaking of the paint layer compromised the longevity of this mural. Inch by inch the entire paint layer was consolidated, saving the existing paint and preventing future paint loss.

Mural during and after conservation