Sunday, December 14, 2014

History in the News: Paul Revere Time Capsule Unearthed

 I found this to be so cool! I can't wait to see the contents once its opened.

Paul Revere's 1795 time capsule unearthed
By Kevin Conlon, CNN
updated 8:45 PM EST, Fri December 12, 2014

CNN-- Paul Revere hasn't stirred up this much anticipation in Boston since his midnight ride from Charlestown to Lexington.
More than two centuries later, a recently unearthed time capsule he buried with fellow revolutionary Samuel Adams -- the man whom Revere was riding to see that night to warn that the British were coming -- has got his former city, state and most of the Internet abuzz.
The artifact was unearthed Thursday thanks to a water leak near its resting place inside a cornerstone at the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
When workers investigating the leak stumbled upon it, Secretary of State William Galvin, who heads the state historical commission, called Pamela Hatchfield, the head of object conservation at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
"There was a big discussion about whether or not it should be removed," Hatchfield told Brooke Baldwin on "CNN Newsroom" on Friday. "(But) because there was water infiltration in that area of the building, it was decided that we'd try to see if we could find it, investigate and see whether the box was still intact."
Hatchfield spent seven hours Thursday delicately and painstakingly chipping away at the stone to extricate it.
"The contents are of concern, but the plaster that held the box in place is in good condition," Galvin said.

According to Galvin, the box-shaped capsule was placed by the Revolutionary-era duo in 1795, a year when Adams was governor and when construction began on the State House and its iconic dome, which would eventually be overlaid with copper by Revere.
Both he and Hatchfield said that based on historical records, the box is believed to contain coins, a plate and a Revere-inscribed plaque -- but no one knows for sure.
"It may contain other stuff, too," said Galvin. "We don't know that yet."
But we might soon: Galvin, whose office is inside the State House, said the capsule's contents are expected to be revealed sometime next week.
For now, it's getting some TLC and a thorough exam -- including X-rays over the weekend -- by the museum's staff.
This is not the first time this capsule was unearthed. In 1855 it was dug up during emergency repairs to the State House and put back in place, something that has Hatchfield "a little worried."
"We're a little worried because in 1855, they cleaned the contents with acid," she said. "So we're a little concerned that things maybe deteriorated inside."
Galvin sounded more optimistic.
"There were some coins that were tossed in the 1855 ceremony in the mix of the mortar. They are in good condition, so we are optimistic that the box itself has withstood the test of time and that it will therefore be holding the contents securely," he said.
Galvin told CNN affiliate WBZ the capsule will probably be returned to the State House, and that he's mulling both a new container for the capsule and new items from the current era.

 ~From January 6, 2015:

Time capsule dating to 1795 included coins, newspapers

Associated Press | 01.06.15 | 2:12 AM
BOSTON (AP) — Early residents of Boston valued a robust press as much as their history and currency if the contents of a time capsule dating back to the years just after the Revolutionary War are any guide.
When conservators at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston gingerly removed items from the box Tuesday, they found five tightly folded newspapers, a medal depicting George Washington, a silver plaque, two dozen coins, including one dating to 1655, and the seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
While some of the coins appeared corroded, other items were in good condition and fingerprints could be seen on the silver plaque.
The capsule was embedded in a cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse when construction began in 1795. It was placed there by Revolutionary era luminaries including Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, governor of Massachusetts at the time.
The contents were shifted to what was believed to be a copper box in 1855 and placed back into the foundation of Statehouse. The box remained there until it was rediscovered last year during an ongoing water filtration project at the building. The box was actually brass, according to conservators.
The oldest coin in the box was a 1652 ‘‘Pine Tree Schilling,’’ made at a time when the colony didn’t have royal authority to create its own currency. Pine trees were a valuable commodity at the time. The trees were used as ship masts. And at the bottom, an inscribed rectangular silver plate, "probably made by Paul Revere and engraved by him," Rogers said. 
Experts say they haven't been able to confirm whether Paul Revere made the silver plate, which commemorates the placement of the legislature's cornerstone by Adams and Revere on July 4, 1795.
Michael Comeau, executive director of the Massachusetts Archives and Commonwealth Museum, said he has seen the coins offered for as much at $75,000, although given the context of this particular coin and the association with Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, the value would likely be much higher.
The newspapers were folded in such a way that the names of the publications weren’t always visible, but one might have been a copy of the Boston Evening Traveller — a newspaper operation that was eventually absorbed into the current Boston Herald.
A portion of one of the papers that was visible showed a listing of the arrivals of whalers from various ports to Boston. Conservators didn’t try to unfold the papers.
Pam Hatchfield, the head of objects conservation for the museum, removed each item using a slew of tools including her grandfather’s dental tool. Hatchfield said the paper in the box was in ‘‘amazingly good condition.’’
Massachusetts state Secretary William Galvin said he expects the items will be on display at the museum for a period of time, but that eventually they will again be returned to the foundation to be discovered by a future generation of Bay State residents. 
Officials are considering adding something contemporary for future generations to discover. 
Galvin said he didn’t know if modern items might be added to the foundation.
Comeau said the objects in the box are a bridge back in time.
‘‘This is the stuff of history,’’ he said.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Speaking of history, read my blog post about Paul Revere HERE


No comments: