Historic Vault

Washington, DC

During renovations to convert the Old Post Office Building, located at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, into a luxury hotel, a painted over vault door was found in the basement. Under the numerous layers of paint the original door was found to have intact decorative paint, including gilded moldings and a colorful Great Seal of the United States on the original steel door.

Our conservators carefully removed more than 100 years of over-paint to reveal the design. Yellow, discolored varnish was removed to reveal the original pigment colors. Losses on the Seal and areas of bare metal were in-painted. Then the aged, but intact, original paint was protected under a layer of conservation-grade lacquer.