National Air and Space Museum Mural

National Mall, Washington, DC

In 2019, EverGreene was engaged to remove five monumental murals at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. in preparation for a major renovation its exhibition and presentation spaces. The murals Weather, The Evolution of Jet Aviation, Fortress Under Fire, Earth Flight Environment, and A Cosmic View had been created specifically for the museum during its construction in the mid-1970s.

The oversized lobby murals remained in place for nearly 45 years until they were taken down over a period of weeks. Our conservators assessed, documented, and developed a plan to safely remove the painted canvases from the walls. Custom-designed scaffolding was erected and enclosed within negative-air containment to protect from the known presence of asbestos-containing materials in the wall substrate. The murals were removed top to bottom. Working in Tyvek suits and full-face respirators, the team painstakingly separated the mural canvases from the walls in original, 10-foot sections and rolled them onto large sonotubes. The mural sections were then safely transported to our studio.

At our studio, a clean containment room was constructed so that excess hazardous wall materials including paint/primer, dry-wall paper, and asbestos-containing joint compound could be removed from the back of each canvas. After meticulous cleaning and testing to confirm the absence of any ACM, the murals were rerolled in archival materials, crated, and returned to the Museum for storage.

Following the completion of the Museum renovation, EverGreene reinstalled three of the five murals: Weather, Earth Flight Environment, and A Cosmic View. Extensive testing determined the most appropriate adhesive to use for reinstallation of such large and heavy canvases. A team of five specialists carefully aligned and adhered each section of the monumental murals onto the newly refinished gallery walls. The seams in between canvas panels were restored, minor damage addressed, and a painted trim was added to frame each mural. The mural reinstallation was completed just prior to the reopening of the Museum in the summer of 2022, welcoming visitors and serving once again as an iconic background in millions of photos.