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The Center for Painted Wall Preservation (CPWP) is dedicated to documenting and preserving painted plaster walls. Our experts are always adding resources and advice on how to care for walls.  

Best Practices
for Caring for Painted Walls

These best practices were developed from CPWP's 2022  “Conserving Our Painted Past” Symposium. The first event of its kind, this Symposium brought together practitioners in the care and conservation of painted walls to share case studies. The preservation of early-19th-century painted decoration — which include murals, freehand brushwork, and stenciled decoration— becomes increasingly urgent over time, especially for walls in private homes. 

Historic Stencils Research

A collection of mostly reproductions of stenciled walls found in American structures dating to the Federal Period, 1790-1840. Recreations are 30 by 40 inches and utilize full sized stencil motifs traced directly from the original walls and arranged on the surface in layouts as similar to the original as possible. They represent fragments of 200-year-old stenciled interior decoration in size, colorations and layout.

Examples of Painted Walls

CPWP focuses on paint-decorated plaster walls from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. We document murals, stenciling, and freehand brushwork in various stages of preservation. See some examples in the collections of museums and historic sites.

Wall Care Guidelines

Many homeowners who discover painted walls in their homes become enchanted by the charming decoration. As they learn more about the historical significance of their walls, these homeowners recognize themselves as stewards of a piece of our national heritage. Following some simple suggestions can help ensure the stability and survival of walls in your home.

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