You can start by removing the paint. Visit PeelAway.com or CitriStrip.com for 'safe' paint removers. Contact them as to which SPECIFIC 'model' of remover you should use. It's possible you need to be concerned about lead paint, so when you ctc them, at least mention that and the age of the house.
Depending, you can try to 'cut' through the paint w/a utility knife. You do have to be careful because you may not readily know if you're cutting just paint or the wood, itself, under the paint. If you damage the wood, you'll have an aestetic 'problem' to deal with too. If you try this method, of course be careful working w/the knife and do it by making several 'passes' over the old paint. Use a NEW blade. They're cheap enough.
Others may have other ideas. My best to ya and hope this helps.