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Mills College Music Building

ARG Conservation Services, Inc. / Mills College Music Building

Mills College Music Building

The Spanish Colonial Music Building is located on the campus of Mills College in Oakland, California. The lobby ceiling of the Music Building is composed of cast plaster decoratively painted dark brown to imitate wood. The ceiling exhibited variations in matte to semi-gloss surfaces which could be intentional to enhance the faux carved decoration and/or due to aging with exposure to moisture that may have caused some of the surfaces to turn more matte over time. The visual variations in gloss lend historic character to the ceiling and help the surfaces read as faux wood. Areas of the ceiling were delaminating in some cases the white plaster was exposed. Previous restorations with brown overpaint were also evident in some areas.

ARG Conservation Services was retained to examine the coatings, test for adhesion, and make recommendations for repainting the ceiling. Following investigations, our recommended approach was to retain as much of the original surface as possible and to retain the historic character that is defined by the aged surface of the coatings. ARG Conservation Services was then contracted to clean the ceiling and treat the area of loose or missing paint using consolidants and in-painting the losses.


Examination, Testing, and Recommendations for Restoration


Mills College


Oakland, California


Finishes, Recommendations