Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation

Committee Member

Stéphanie Cretté, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Frances Ford

Committee Member

Carter Hudgins


Approaches to the study of historic architectural finishes are in many ways unique to each conservator. While some efforts have been made to systematize the broad aspects of its implementation (e.g, microscopy), there has yet to be a codification of the nuanced aspects of sample preparation, material identification, and interpretation. Using the case study site, an 1822 Charleston Single House, as a departure point, this thesis discusses the varying architectural paint analysis methodologies employed in the thesis research and the varying utility of these approaches. Research focused on the role of paint analysis as a fundamental, but non-standardized, field pertaining to wider architectural preservation investigation. Using in situ sampling, an investigation was made of the stratigraphy of finishes in the front parlor at Number 26 Meeting St, Charleston, South Carolina. Combining a short archival research investigation with a known house history, efforts were made to target key architectural components within the parlor for comprehensive study. The study consisted of a systematic finish investigation to assess “tried-and-true” methodologies currently in use by field professionals. This thesis analyzed approaches from simple scrape methods to advanced analytical techniques such as SEM-EDS. The conclusion proposes creative and innovative methodologies for future use in architectural paint investigations, which, though may be at present far too expensive or novel for everyday practice, will grow to be more accessible over time.



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