Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Leave It Better: Painting a New Face

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Leave It Better: Painting a New Face

Article excerpt

Chicago restores historic murals throughout city parks.


The Mural Preservation Effort, Chicago, Ill.


Historic murals painted in park field houses throughout the city of Chicago were in disrepair and in need of restoration. Some were flaking away while others were coated in a varnish that had discolored the original art through the years. Many of the murals were coated with a century's worth of grime and one was damaged by graffiti.


Julia Bachrach, the park district's historian, chose a total of 58 murals painted between 1916 and 1941 for restoration, based on their condition and historic importance. Many of the aging murals were painted during socially significant periods of history, including the Progressive Era and the New Deal Era. The chosen murals will undergo a series of processes, including cleaning, varnish removal and canvas repair. During restoration, the murals are subject to minimal retouching with reversible conservation paints. The final step is to seal the murals with a varnish that protects the painted surfaces.

Partnerships and Costs:

The Mural Preservation Effort is the result of collaboration between the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Conservation Center. …

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