An artist connected to our site is coming in a few months to paint a mural on a wall in one of our exhibit spaces. There are no objects on display, it is more of a reflection room. I just started at the museum as the Registrar, so I am coming into the middle of this project. Does anyone have any experience with accessioning murals and/or could offer any advise? We do plan on keeping this mural for the foreseeable future. I am curious what guidelines I need to establish in terms of the lifetime of the mural, restoration/conservation, copyright or image usage, etc.?
I haven’t found a lot on museums accession murals yet, but still hunting. In the meantime, as you consider guidelines, an artist’s waiver of proprietary rights, written care instructions, and written list of materials to be used (including paint types, brands, and specific colors, etc.) seem in order. The San Francisco Arts Commission has a good waiver example included in their mural guidelines. Here’s an example of a mural conservation policy by the City of Santa Monica.
I’m also checking in with a few other folks and will get back to you as I find additional information.
I had a great chat with the Seattle Art Museum’s conservator and he directed me t oa few resources that might be about as specific as anything that’s been written about your specific dilemma. The Canadian Conservation Institute has a great resource on creating new murals, which includes specific suggestions for documentation. Go to “Creating a new mural.”
It doesn’t have information specifically on registration, but is very strong on just about every other aspect of things to think about prior to installing a new mural.
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