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Paul Revere and Samuel Adams' 1795 time capsule opened: You won't believe what's inside!

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By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
1/8/2015 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Time capsule, dated 1795, is finally opened to reveal a special look into 18th century Massachusetts.

The 1795 time capsule removed from the Massachusetts State House in December 2014, was finally opened to reveal a special piece of history.

Pam Hatchfield, head of objects conservation for Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, is seen opening the time capsule with complete awe.

Pam Hatchfield, head of objects conservation for Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, is seen opening the time capsule with complete awe.

Highlights

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
1/8/2015 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: time capsule, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, 1795, Boston, Massachusetts


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, along with local developer, William Scollay, placed the box-shaped capsule into the State House cornerstone in 1795.

The time capsule was extracted from the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House in December 201

The time capsule was extracted from the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House in December 2014. [Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe]


Sometime during 1855, the time capsule was removed, cleaned and put back in the cornerstone where it remained for another 160 years.

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200 years in the making, the unveiling of the contents captivated everyone. "Could we actually go through the whole box, or would things prove too fragile to take out?" said Malcolm Rogers, director of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts to CNN. "It was like brain surgery, with history looking down on us."

Using a porcupine quill and dental tool, Pam Hatchfield, head of objects conservation for the museum, slowly removed each item expressing awe as history was revealed right before her eyes.

"This is the most exciting project I've ever worked on," exclaimed Hatchfield to the crowd witnessing the extraction. "This is what we, as conservators, live for."

Five folded newspapers, a Massachusetts commonwealth seal, a title page from Massachusetts colony records and at least 24 coins were discovered in the capsule. At the bottom of the box was a inscribed rectangular silver plate commemorating the placement of the box by Adams and Revere on July 4, 1795, according to CNN.

Five folded newspapers were found in the time capsule. They will likely remain folded to preserve th

Five folded newspapers were found in the time capsule. They will likely remain folded to preserve the good condition.

At the bottom of the box was a inscribed rectangular silver plate commemorating the placement of the

At the bottom of the box was a inscribed rectangular silver plate commemorating the placement of the box by Adams and Revere on July 4, 1795, according to CNN. [Photo: Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images]


The collection of coins included half-cent, one-cent, half-dime, 10-cent and 25-cent coins, along with a pine tree shilling from 1652 and a copper medal showing George Washington.

The collection of coins included half-cent, one-cent, half-dime, 10-cent and 25-cent coins, along wi

The collection of coins included half-cent, one-cent, half-dime, 10-cent and 25-cent coins, along with a pine tree shilling from 1652 and a copper medal showing George Washington. [Photo: WBZ-TV]


"Though we knew a little bit about what was in the box, it was a moment of extraordinary excitement as this brass container just the size of a cigar box was slowly opened with surgical precision, and you suddenly found yourself in the presence of history," Rogers said to CNN.

According to Hatchfield, the large number of copper coins is likely the reason the artifacts remained in "amazingly good condition," since copper has the ability to block fungus growth.

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"The story's fantastic. George Washington was still the president of this country until 1797," said Sebastian Clarke, an appraiser for the PBS program "Antiques Roadshow" to CNN.

These artifacts are not expected to be for sale; they will be on display at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and eventually the time capsule will be placed back in the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House, according to William F. Galvin, secretary of the commonwealth.

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