May / Burch Conservation, Inc., specializes in the conservation of easel paintings, murals, and painted architectural materials. We provide a full range of conservation services, including collection surveys, condition assessments, maintenance planning, and conservation treatment of artworks on a variety of materials and substrates. Principal conservators Debra May and Rachel Burch have worked together since 2006 as May Painting Conservation, Inc.; in 2017 they have formalized their partnership as May/Burch Conservation, Inc.
Principal conservators Debra May and Rachel Burch have worked together since 2006 as May Painting Conservation, formalizing their partnership as May/Burch Conservation in 2017. In our practice, we are committed to the highest standard of professional practice, not only in terms of visual result, but also in terms of ethical treatment approach, as outlined in the AIC’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice and The Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Our goal is to achieve the best and most conservative course of action for the stability and long-term preservation of the work of art, with a mind toward the reversibility of treatment. We strive to maintain the highest standards of excellence, using current best practices in the field and by keeping up to date with scholarship and research in our fields of expertise.
May/Burch Conservation provides hands-on conservation treatment of wall paintings, murals, and historic painted architectural finishes, on a variety of materials and substrates. In addition to treatments, we undertake condition assessments, conservation planning, maintenance planning, art historical and materials research, architectural paint investigations, and paint analysis. We consciously maintain a ‘boutique’ business model that allows us to directly control the quality of our work, and allow ourselves the personal professional satisfaction of hands-on participation. One or both of the Partners are always present on site to manage the work process, adding in trusted team members depending on the demands of the project. We further maintain best practices by participation in conferences, workshop and other training experiences, and membership in national and international conservation organizations.
Our firm has designed and implemented numerous large and complex conservation projects for public and private entities, including the City and County of Los Angeles; the City and County of San Francisco; The City of Santa Monica; The City of West Hollywood; The State of California; Mission San Juan Capistrano, Orange County, CA; Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA; University of California Los Angeles; Architectural Resources Group Conservation Services, San Francisco; and Archer School for Girls, Los Angeles. We routinely work with architects, artists, curators, framers, fine-art shippers, and museum staff in the planning and implementation of conservation projects. We also enjoy taking on smaller projects, as well as limited pro bono work in our local communities.
Debra has a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Southern California, and an MFA in painting from Massachusetts College of Art. She received conservation training through apprenticeships with prominent conservators in Los Angeles and Italy. She has been in private practice in Los Angeles since 2000, with over 30 years of experience in the field.
Rachel received a Post-graduate diploma in the Conservation of Wall Paintings (MA) from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, UK, and has over 25 years of experience in the conservation of wall paintings and early plasters.