National Air and Space Museum - Mural Cleaning
In 2019, EverGreene was engaged by Clark-Smoot-Consigli, to remove five monumental painted murals in preparation for a major reconstruction of the National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington D.C. The vibrant murals, Weather, The Evolution of Jet Aviation, Fortress Under Fire, Earth Flight Environment, and A Cosmic View, had been created by renowned artists on site, specifically for the building during its construction in the mid-1970s.
EverGreene conservators assessed, documented, and developed a plan to safely remove the painted canvases from the walls to which they had originally been adhered. Custom-designed scaffolding was erected for access and enclosed within negative-air containment due to the known presence of asbestos containing materials in the Museum wall substrate. Working in Tyvek suits and full-face respirators, the team then painstakingly separated the mural canvases from the walls in original sections, rolled them onto large sonotubes, and transferred the segments to our studio.
A clean containment room was constructed at EverGreene’s studio and each mural was unrolled within it so that excess wall materials including paint/primer, dry-wall paper, and asbestos-containing joint compound could be removed from the back. 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 completion of the Museum renovation, EverGreene was contracted to reinstall three of the five murals previously removed, including Weather, Earth Flight Environment, and A Cosmic View. Extensive testing was undertaken to determine the most appropriate adhesive to use for reinstallation of such large and heavy canvases.
The crated murals were removed from storage, transported downtown, and returned to the Museum for reinstallation. A team of five specialists performed reinstallation of a built scaffold by carefully aligning and adhering each section of the +/- 70-foot-long murals onto the newly refinished Museum gallery walls. Upon completion of installation, a team of conservators restored the seams in between canvas panels, addressed minor damage, and added painted trim to frame each mural.
The reinstallation of three murals was successfully completed in the summer of 2022, just prior to the reopening of the Museum.