Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

Charlottesville, VA



Monticello, home of President Thomas Jefferson, was constructed between 1796 and 1809. Jefferson designed the building, now a National Historic Landmark. Materials Conservation was retained to design and implement an historically-appropriate method for restoring the iconic west portico columns to their original finish.

To develop a treatment program, MC conducted historical research and analyzed render samples using microscopic examination and gravimetric/ acid digestion. Using these findings, MC created a system that combined steam and gentle abrasive blasting. Conservators tested the procedure on one prototypical column. Once certain that no damage would be done, our team removed multiple paint layers from the “compass” brick, coated with lime plaster to imitate sandstone. 

Subsequently, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation retained MC to complete paint removal from the remaining columns on the west portico.

Sukari Keetin