(BOSTON) — The oldest time capsule discovered in the country that dates back to 1795 was opened Tuesday in Boston as many history nuts waited with bated breath.
Pamela Hatchfield, head of objects conservation at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, first removed the lid then inspected a newspaper, after loosening the screws beforehand for about four or five hours, she said.
“This is clearly a newspaper and it’s really packed in there,” Hatchfield said, wearing gloves and a white coat with tools like a porcupine quill.
“Conservation happens at a glacial pace,” Hatchfield said. “If at any point we find things can be imperiled or damaged by removing them, we are going to have to stop. I do apologize in advance. We just do not know.”
American Revolution patriot Paul Revere and then-Gov. Samuel Adams originally placed the relic under a cornerstone of the Boston Statehouse in 1795.
The news conference began at at 6 p.m. ET, in which The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, authorized only credentialed media because of “extremely limited space and object sensitivity,” the museum said in a statement.
The time capsule was removed from the Massachusetts State House cornerstone Dec. 11, along with miscellaneous coins. The time capsule, which was X-rayed at the MFA Dec. 14, weighs 10 pounds and measures 5.5 inches by 7.5 inches by 1.5 inches, officials said.
Museum and state officials are removing its contents for the first time since 1855, when its contents were documented and cleaned, officials said. Additional materials were added then to the time capsule, which was placed in brass and plastered into the underside of the granite cornerstone.
“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 Commonwealth; cards; and a title page from the Massachusetts Colony Records,” the MFA said in a statement last month. “These objects were described in the 1855 account of the reburying ceremony.”
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