1795 Samuel Adams & Paul Revere Time Capsule Unearthed

Boston, MA — On Tuesday, January 6, 2015, at 6:00 PM, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), will hold a press conference to open the time capsule recently removed from the cornerstone of the State House, revealing its contents for the first time since 1855. One of the oldest in the country, the time capsule was originally placed under the State House cornerstone in 1795 by Governor Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and William Scollay. It was previously unearthed in 1855, when the contents were documented and cleaned. At that time, additional materials were added to the capsule, which was then placed in a brass container and returned to the State House, where it was plastered into the underside of a massive granite cornerstone.
On Thursday, December 11, 2014, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and the Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin’s office oversaw the removal of the State House cornerstone, and the time capsule contained within. The removal was designed by the engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger and executed by Walsh Brothers Construction and their sub-contractors. Located inside a carved depression within the stone, the time capsule was encased in plaster along with miscellaneous coins––a custom of the time that symbolized good luck. Pam Hatchfield, the MFA’s Robert P. And Carol T. Henderson Head of Objects Conservation, removed the time capsule and coins in a process that took more than seven hours.

Following its excavation, the time capsule—weighing 10 pounds andmeasuring 5-1/2 x 7-1/2 x 1-1/2 inches—was x-rayed at the MFA on December 14, 2014. X-rays revealed what is believed to be a collection of silver and copper coins (dating from 1652 and 1855); an engraved silver plate; a copper medal depicting George Washington; newspapers; the seal of the Commowealth; cards; and a title page from the Massachusetts Colony Records. These objects were described in the 1855 account of the reburying ceremony.



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