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History On Display: MFA To Showcase State House Time Capsule Artifacts From 1795

Coins and the engraved silver plaque found inside the time capsule. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
Coins and the engraved silver plaque found inside the time capsule. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Before the contents of the State House time capsule unearthed last December are reburied, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is giving people a chance to get a closer look at the centuries-old artifacts.

The time capsule's contents, including coins, newspapers, a medal depicting George Washington and a silver plaque believed to be engraved by Paul Revere, will be on display in the museum's Art of the Americas Wing March 11 through April 22.

In January, state and museum officials, including then-Gov. Deval Patrick and Secretary of State William Galvin, watched as Pam Hatchfield, the MFA's head of objects conservation, held up a silver engraving found in the time capsule. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
In January, state and museum officials, including then-Gov. Deval Patrick and Secretary of State William Galvin, watched as Pam Hatchfield, the MFA's head of objects conservation, held up a silver engraving found in the time capsule. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The time capsule, originally embedded in a cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House in 1795 by Gov. Sam Adams and Revolutionary War figures Paul Revere and William Scollay, was originally dug up in 1855, when a few additional objects were added, according to the museum. Its contents were also cleaned and documented at that time.

The time capsule was then dug up again last December.

Pamela Hatchfield, head of objects conservation at the MFA, held the time capsule after extracting it from the cornerstone of the State House in December. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Pamela Hatchfield, head of objects conservation at the MFA, held the time capsule after extracting it from the cornerstone of the State House in December. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The MFA said "the installation will explore the significance of the objects found in the capsule and the role of the prominent figures involved in both the original burial in 1795, and reburial in 1855."

More photos from the time capsule's opening in January, and its excavation in December: 

Several newspapers were found inside the time capsule. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Several newspapers were found inside the time capsule. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
MFA curators carefully examined State House time capsules contents in January. (Courtesy MFA Boston)
MFA curators carefully examined State House time capsules contents in January. (Courtesy MFA Boston)
The 1795 time capsule found inside the cornerstone of the State House, above, and an X-ray showing its contents, below. (Courtesy MFA Boston)
The 1795 time capsule found inside the cornerstone of the State House, above, and an X-ray showing its contents, below. (Courtesy MFA Boston)
Back in December, contractors removed the cornerstone from the State House to prepare to extract the time capsule, which was embedded in the bottom. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Back in December, contractors removed the cornerstone from the State House to prepare to extract the time capsule, which was embedded in the bottom. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A few coins were found scattered in the plaster encasing the time capsule under the State House. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A few coins were found scattered in the plaster encasing the time capsule under the State House. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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