Department Of Homeland Security

Washington, DC

Formerly the Mount Vernon Seminary for girls and a Naval Communications Annex, the NAC now houses the Department of Homeland Security for the United States. Originally designed on a 15-acre lot of land by Wesley Sherwood Bessel of New York and first opened in 1917, the complex quickly grew to the 38-acre, 32-building complex that there is today. The original Mount Vernon Seminary was built to a Colonial Revival design in brick with a decorative stone portal and capped with a decorative cupola that announces the significance of this building along Nebraska Avenue.

We were contracted in 2016 to analyze a series of paint samples taken from the cupola. The samples were studied under a Leitz Orthoplan compound microscope in normal reflected light and under illumination conditions that simulate daylight (fiber optic illuminator) for the purpose of color-corrected stratigraphy identification. Samples were observed under 25x and 40x magnification.

Each individual layer of the sequences was delineated and generally characterized; the earliest selected finish of each was matched to the Munsell Book of Color (a standardized universal color system) and to a commercial paint color system (Benjamin Moore). The results of the analysis as well as commercial paint matches were submitted to the client in a report.