A little piece of history
On Tuesday, Boston Museum of Fine Arts conservator Pam Hatchfield carefully pulled out five newspapers, 23 coins dating as far back as 1652, a medal depicting George Washington, and a silver plate from a time capsule buried 220 years ago by Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and Revolutionary War colonel William Scollay.
The items inside were already known — the capsule had been accidentally unearthed at the Massachusetts State House in 1855, and the contents had been catalogued — but conservators were unsure about their condition. Once the small box was opened, they could see that the newspapers were in decent shape and some of the coins were corroded. They were also able to read an inscription on the silver plate: "This cornerstone of a building intended for the use of the legislative and executive branches of the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was laid by his Excellency Samuel Adams, Esquire, governor of the said Commonwealth."
Finding and opening the time capsule was "what we as conservators live for," Hatchfield said. Officials are now trying to decide what to do with the relics; Secretary of State William Galvin says it's likely the items will go on display and then be returned to the cornerstone of the State House.