The circa-1858 structure is believed to have been used as a hospital by Confederate and Union forces during the war. For unknown reasons, patrons decided to mark up the walls with signatures, drawings and anything else that crossed their minds. Mills’ challenge is to remove the post-historic paint and whitewash that subsequent owners attempted to cover the markings with, as well as stabilize the fragile plaster.
“You don’t want to mess with the graffiti itself, everything affects it,” Mills said of the tedious process. In addition to removing the cover layer with tools such as a razor and an elongated cotton swab, he stabilizes the plaster by injecting a synthetic resin and pinning it till it dries.
Story: Steven Butler, Richmond Times Dispatch | Photo: AP