This article from the Boston Globe describes the discovery and handling of a time capsule placed in a stone of the
Massachusetts state house in 1795. Wow! -Editor
After a full day spent lying on her back on a muddy wooden plank, chipping with painstaking care at
the underside of a stone block to free the time capsule hidden within, Museum of Fine Arts conservator Pam Hatchfield sat up in front of the State
House to a round of applause, a green box held delicately in her hands.
"I feel happy and relieved. And excited. And really interested to see what’s in this box," she said Thursday night, after posing for a selfie with
the capsule for her mom. The extrication took more than seven hours and involved about a dozen workers.
The original contents of the time capsule were first placed in 1795 by Governor Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and William Scollay in a ceremony that
started in downtown Boston and proceeded to the State House, according to historical accounts. It was unearthed during emergency repairs to the
foundation in 1855 and then buried again, and had not seen daylight until it emerged on Thursday.
"Hopefully there will be no damage and we will be able to observe the artifacts that trace us back to the history not only just of this building,
but of our Commonwealth and our country," said Secretary of State William Galvin, who was on hand for the capsule’s first appearance in more than 150
The capsule is believed to include a collection of silver and copper coins dating from
between 1652 and 1855; an engraved silver plate; newspapers; the seal of the Commonwealth; cards; and a title page from the Massachusetts Colony
Records, according to Meghan Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Administration and Finance.
The box was taken by State Police escort to the Museum of Fine Arts, where Hatchfield said it will be X-rayed to determine the contents. There was
some concern, Galvin said, that there may be some damage to some of the coins, which may have been washed in acid before the box was reburied in
"It will be opened probably sometime next week," said Galvin. The contents will be examined, he said, but the time capsule will not remain
unburied. "Ultimately it will be put back in the box and ultimately back in the stone."
Galvin said officials have not yet decided whether they will add any objects to the capsule before re-burying it. The capsule was discovered
during the course of a water infiltration investigation at the State House, which identified the corner where it was hidden as an area of
It is believed to be one of the oldest time capsules in the state, according to Kelly. In October, a century-old time capsule was opened after it
was removed from its perch in the head of a golden lion statue that had sat atop the Old State House in downtown Boston. Its contents included sealed
letters, photographs, and newspaper articles in near-perfect condition.
To read the complete article, see:
State House time capsule from 1795 unearthed
Wayne Homren, Editor
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