Planet Word Museum

Washington, DC

Planet Word is the world’s first voice-activated museum that immerses visitors in the magic of language and seeks to promote continued curiosity in reading and words. With its distinctive, educational mission, it is no surprise that the museum is located in the historic Franklin School, which has housed multiple academic organizations and institutions — including the Board of Education — since its opening  in 1869. 

To keep this National Historic Landmark thriving, EverGreene was commissioned to provide conservation services. In 2018, we conducted investigations of the historic plaster and paint finishes in the Great Hall and fourth floor attic space, which was converted into the museum’s event space. Our conservators investigated the historic finishes and original plaster to determine proper repair and conservation treatments and to document the historic color palettes and decorative finish schemes. 

Finishes investigations revealed that original trompe l’oeil designs, rendered in what appeared to be distemper paints, were exposed in many areas. Samples were collected to document original paint colors and to support replication of the designs. Paint layers on collected samples were characterized and Munsell color matches were identified for the historic finishes. Additionally, investigation of the plaster indicated that the original lime plaster was in fair to poor condition. Damage and deterioration were documented and conservation treatments and repairs were implemented on the plaster. The historic finishes scheme in the Great Hall was then replicated onto canvas and installed over the conserved historic plaster and paint. Designs were exposed, photographed, and traced onto clear polyester sheets to facilitate replication on canvas substrates in our Brooklyn studio.