Expand Menu
Close Menu
Home | What's Going On | Blog

What to Look for in a Professional Mural Restoration Company

Historical artwork has the power to revitalize public spaces, conveying stories, culture, and emotions through vibrant imagery. Over time, environmental conditions and damages caused by water, overpainting, abrasions, poor storage conditions, and neglect can take a toll on these beautiful works of art, leading to the need for restoration. Hiring a professional mural restoration company is crucial to ensure that the artwork is brought back to its former glory while preserving its historical and cultural significance. In this blog, we will explore what you should look for in a professional mural restoration company.

Expertise and Experience

Mural restoration is a specialized field that requires not only artistic talent but also technical expertise. It is essential to look for a company with a proven track record of successful mural restoration. Resumes of the key team members leading in the restoration should be reviewed prior to beginning any work. Check for qualifications, certifications, and membership in
organizations dedicated to mural conservation, such as the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) or the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC). A well-established restoration company should have a team of experienced conservators, art historians, and artists who can collectively assess and restore murals. Our team at Canning is led by professional members of the AIC, who always aim to guide our restoration projects using the code of ethics outlined by the organization for the preservation and restoration of historical artworks. Reputable mural restoration companies adhere to a strict code of ethics. Ensure that the company you choose is committed to preserving your mural’s historical, cultural, and artistic value by following these codes and guidelines.

John AIA award
Our founder, John Canning, is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Preservation Philosophy

A good mural restoration company should have a clear philosophy focused on preserving the integrity and historical value of the artwork. They should prioritize reversible methods and avoid over-painting or altering the original design. Ask about their approach to restoration, and be cautious of any company that is not transparent about their methods. The company should keep well-documented records of every restoration step taken during the mural conservation process. This ensures that their work remains recorded and separate from that of the original artist and allows future conservators to view a detailed log of previous work done to the mural.

Documentation and Research

Before starting any restoration project, a professional company will conduct thorough documentation and research. This involves understanding the mural’s history, artist, materials used, and the extent of damage. This initial assessment is vital in developing a tailored restoration plan. Without a prior understanding of the artwork, conservation efforts may not match the correct intention or materials used by the original artist, therefore disrupting the artwork’s historic integrity. A mural conditions assessment should be completed over the duration of the project and will include the initial research, documentation, test results, and recommendations for further restoration.

Research into the Industry in New Hampshire mural at the University of New Hampshire revealed historical images that aided in the restoration of original painter Arthur Esner’s work.

State-of-the-Art Techniques

The best mural restoration companies keep up-to-date with the latest restoration techniques and materials. They should be well-versed in cleaning methods, paint analysis, and surface consolidation. By using modern, non-invasive techniques, they can ensure that the mural remains unaltered and authentic.

Luzerne County Courthouse

Mural conservation in progress at the Luzerne County Courthouse

References and Portfolio

Ask for references and take a look at the company’s portfolio of past projects. This will give you a sense of their work and whether they have successfully restored murals of similar size and historical importance. Contact previous clients, if possible, to get their feedback on the company’s services. The company you choose should have a reputation of quality craftsmanship and their work should be completed on time, in-budget, and meet or exceed previous clients’ expectations. Our website offers a portfolio of some of the work Canning has completed, providing a transparent look at the size, scope, and depth of each project we have completed. The company you choose to complete your restoration project should do the same.

Communication and Transparency

Effective communication is key when hiring a mural restoration company. They should be willing to discuss the restoration process with you, provide regular updates on the project’s progress, and address any concerns or questions you may have. Your chosen company should allow you to request a consultation to speak with one of their qualified project professionals to answer any questions you may have about the restoration.

Budget, Timeline, and Proposals

A professional mural restoration company should provide a clear and transparent estimate of the project’s cost and a realistic timeline for completion. Not only should they provide realistic estimates but also detailed proposals that outline exactly what you as the client will be receiving as a part of the restoration. This proposal should not contain only one option for restoration but should instead include levels of restoration options to fit different budgets and timelines to best work with the needs of the client. Be wary of companies that provide vague estimates or promise unrealistically quick results. Our estimating team is always happy to provide clear outlines of project budgets, plans, and timelines to ensure your project can remain on budget, on-time, and run smoothly from start to finish. Should a full restoration not be an option based on budget, timeline, or otherwise, a reputable company should be able to provide alternative options. To follow these services, the company should also provide an ongoing maintenance plan and guidance for the murals that are being restored. This will allow for continuity throughout the project and provide instructions for future care beyond the restoration project.

Restoring a mural is a delicate process that requires a combination of artistry, science, and a deep respect for cultural heritage. Choosing the right professional mural restoration company is essential to ensure that the artwork is rejuvenated while preserving its historical and cultural significance. By considering expertise, preservation philosophy, research, ethics, techniques, references, communication, and budget, you can find a company that will breathe new life into these priceless works of art while honoring their legacy.

Canning C

February 06, 2024

Featured Projects

Luzerne County Courthouse Restoration

We carefully conserved and restored all aspects of the Luzerne County Courthouse’s historic fabric: marble, metal, plaster, paint, and mural artwork.

Old Steinway

Old Steinway

John Canning & Co. performed art conservation of the ceiling artwork, and the restoration of the architectural paint finishes and plaster features.

Cosmos Club

John Canning & Co. scheduled all trades and performed specialty contracting to conserve and restore fine-art murals, ornamental plaster, gilding, decorative finishes and the parquet floor of the ornately decorated Cosmos Club ballroom in Washington, DC.

Grand Central Terminal, Sky Mural, Conservation Mural Cleaning

Grand Central Terminal

John Canning & Co. formulated the cleaning agent and process for the thorough and harmless conservation cleaning and restoration of the Grand Central Terminal ceiling mural

Hamilton Smith Hall, University of New Hampshire

The John Canning & Co. fine-art conservation team stabilized and conserved two, wall-sized WPA murals at UNH. The murals suffered varying degrees of deterioration and loss due to moisture intrusion and plaster substrate destabilization over nearly 80 years.

Rhode Island State Capitol Restoration

Rhode Island State Capitol Dome Restoration

Our team of artists provided the Rhode Island State House conservation, cleaning, and restoration of the dome murals, painting, and architectural gilding.

Boston Public Library Restoration

Boston Public Library

We provided analysis, interpretation, and implementation of historic restoration services at the McKim building at Boston Public Library.

Historic Paint Investigation Guide
John Canning & Co. Resources

As a conservation studio and restoration contractor, our team of highly skilled craftsmen, artisans, and conservators are experienced in the use of traditional methods and materials. We understand the importance in sharing our expertise and knowledge in our field.

Check Out Our Historic Paint Investigation Guide