Mural Restoration

Mural conservation is one of the major strengths of the laboratory. Parma’s large space and high ceilings, large vacuum tables, and custom-built support structures can accommodate artworks of extreme dimensions at the laboratory. Most of Parma’s mural conservation work, however, takes place on-site. Working from coast-to-coast, we have conserved hundreds of murals in museums, post offices, court houses, public schools, churches, libraries, and private residences. A mobile conservation laboratory can be set up at almost any site where our services are needed.


Below are a few Mural Restoration Highlights:
Post Office Murals

Between 1934 and 1943 the Treasury Section of Fine Art (TS) was established to commission artwork in newly-constructed Federal Post Offices and Courthouses. Unlike other New Deal programs, (such as the WPA) the Treasury Section was not a relief program. Instead, mural contracts were awarded based on national and regional art competitions. Only the best artists were selected for these mural projects.

To date, Parma has conserved more than two hundred post office murals nationwide.

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Field Museum

A total of 25 large scale murals were conserved on site at Chicago’s Field Museum by Parma. The murals, painted by renowned artist Charles Knight, became an integral part of the museum’s Evolving Planet Exhibit, a forum that covers 4 billion years of geologic time. Our staff spent a year at the museum executing treatments in consolidation, cleaning, and structural repair.

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Church Murals

Church mural conservation is offered by Parma as an on-location service. Years of candle soot and grime deposits can obscure the intended luminosity of all painted artwork and murals inside a church. Even fire and smoke damage can be reversed if carried out properly. This work should only be done by professional conservators, to carefully clean and preserve the artwork. In no case should the original artwork be repainted. If your church is about to undergo renovation or painting, please call our laboratory for consultation.

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Blackstone Memorial Library

The Blackstone Memorial Library houses one of the jewels of Chicago’s artistic past; a small cupola of beautiful gilt moldings and magnificent murals painted by the celebrated artist, Oliver Dennett Grover. Placed in the cupola lunettes, these paintings feature the themes of art, literature, science, and labor.

In 2009, Parma brought the historic murals back to their original beauty. The most challenging part of the project was removing an alkyd varnish, a coating intended for furniture. This varnish, applied in 1958, had darkened tremendously over time. Its removal revealed the true dramatic palette of the artist and details that had not been seen for decades.

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The LeRoy Neiman Center

At 56 feet long, LeRoy Neiman’s Summertime Along the Indiana Dunes is the largest painting this celebrated artist ever created. It was originally installed in the Mercantile National Bank in Hammond IN, but recently the artist donated this large mural on panel to be placed in the School of the Art Institute’s LeRoy Neiman Center.

Parma took care of deinstallation, removed and replaced the heavy supports, then cleaned and installed the mural in its new home. Special “cradles” were built to help support the panels throughout the process.

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Request a Consultation or Assessment

Have a piece of art or collection in need of attention?  We’d love to help.