Analysis of Paint Samples Taken From the Interior of the Kentucky State Arsenal Building/Kentucky Military History Museum in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

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paint_03Constructed in the 1850s, the Kentucky State Arsenal Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. CRA teamed with David Arbogast, architectural conservator, to conduct an intensive level paint analysis from select interior spaces of the arsenal. The purpose of the analysis was to determine the original paint colors and finishes applied to the ceiling and interior walls and to document the color of subsequent paint layers applied over time.

CRA staff identified four locations that represented originally exposed wall and ceiling surfaces that were likely to yield quality samples. Numerous samples were taken from each location and placed in resealable plastic bags that were marked and cataloged. Some of the samples were attached to small amounts of substrate while others were not. The location of each sample was then keyed to a basic floor plan of the buildings interior.

The paint samples were visually examined by David Arbogast using an optical Olympus microscope having magnification between 14 and 80 power. Each layer observed was color matched to the Munsell System of Color utilizing natural north light. The Munsell System of Color is a scientific system in which colors have been ranged into a color fan based upon three attributes: hue or color, the chroma or color saturation, and the value or neutral lightness or darkness. Unlike color systems developed by paint manufacturers, the Munsell system provides an unchanging standard of reference that is unaffected by the marketplace and changing tastes in colors.

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