Coins and other early-American mementos buried by midnight rider Paul Revere and Founding Father Samuel Adams will see the light of day for the first time in nearly 160 years, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) announced Tuesday.
On Dec. 11, 2014, a more than 200-year-old time capsule was excavated from a granite cornerstone at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Excitement about its contents has been building ever since.
"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," describes a joint statement from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Museum of Fine Arts.
Originally placed under the cornerstone in 1795 by revolutionary war figures Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and William Scollay, the capsule will be opened at 6:00 PM ET on Jan. 6, 2015.
It will actually be the second such viewing, but the first happened long ago. The original time capsule was previously unearthed in 1855, when its 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," the statement reads.
Based on an X-ray taken Dec. 14, 2014 and an account from the reburying ceremony in 1855, inside the 10-pound time capsule about the size of a cigar box is a collection of:
- silver and copper coins dated from 1652 to 1855,
- an engraved silver plate,
- a copper medal honoring George Washington,
- the seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
- cards, and
- a title page from the Massachusetts Colony records.
Eventually, the contents of the capsule are expected to be placed into a new container and returned to the granite cornerstone at the State House.