Boston Just Unveiled the Contents of the Country's Oldest Time Capsule

Boston Just Unveiled the Contents of the Country's Oldest Time Capsule
Source: AP
Source: AP

On Tuesday evening, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts cracked open the nation's oldest known time capsule: a plaster-sealed, corroded copper box sealed in the walls of the Massachusetts State House 220 years ago by Revolutionary War heroes Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.

USA Today reports that the box, which was originally embedded in a cornerstone in 1795, had not been opened since it was removed from the wall during emergency repairs in 1855 after a water leak. Museum staff worked for nearly four hours to open the box without destroying it. Instead of the expected Raiders of the Lost Ark-style swarm of face-melting demons, museum conservationist Pam Hatchfield announced that the contents were in "amazingly good condition."

Among the treasures in the box were around two dozen copper and silver coins, a silver plate personally signed by Adams and Revere, a medal featuring the likeness of George Washington, playing cards, five newspapers and state records and seals. Officials had feared that the 1855 incident might have damaged the contents, but fortunately it appears the contents were unharmed.

CNN's Jim Sciutto posted a picture of the plate, which looks pretty spiffy for something dating back over 200 years:

The coins and medal were also apparently preserved in fantastic shape:

ABC News also posted this picture of an intact if rigid-looking copy of Boston Daily extracted from the box:

Source: ABC News

It's not often that we get to open such an such old time capsule, let alone one laid by famous historical figures. Needless to say, this was a nice treat for history buffs. In any case, it's a good thing Nicolas Cage wasn't there — he has a bit of a penchant for stealing historical U.S. documents.

Source: Tumblr

In the meantime, the contents of the box will be re-preserved before being put right back in there for future generations to enjoy. Officials are apparently also debating whether or not to add a modern-day item to add to the box's legacy. Considering the state of D.C. today, let's hope it's not a newspaper. Maybe a Blu-Ray copy of The Interview or something equally "American"?

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Conservative columnist Bret Stephens joins MSNBC

Stephens will remain a columnist at The New York Times.

Department of Homeland Security announces new airline security rules

The new measures could help end the electronics ban.

Democrats on Neil Gorsuch's first Supreme Court term: "We've got another Scalia"

Some say Gorsuch's even-handed performance during his confirmation hearings "might be more an act than it was a real persona."

Fox News just hired US Rep. Jason Chaffetz as a correspondent

Chaffetz is headed to Fox.

Here are the key rulings from the Supreme Court's busy June term

The court's term ended with rulings on immigration, the First Amendment, LGBTQ rights and more.

These 3 Republican governors could pose the biggest threat to the Senate health care bill

Why some Republican governors oppose their own party's health care bill

Conservative columnist Bret Stephens joins MSNBC

Stephens will remain a columnist at The New York Times.

Department of Homeland Security announces new airline security rules

The new measures could help end the electronics ban.

Democrats on Neil Gorsuch's first Supreme Court term: "We've got another Scalia"

Some say Gorsuch's even-handed performance during his confirmation hearings "might be more an act than it was a real persona."

Fox News just hired US Rep. Jason Chaffetz as a correspondent

Chaffetz is headed to Fox.

Here are the key rulings from the Supreme Court's busy June term

The court's term ended with rulings on immigration, the First Amendment, LGBTQ rights and more.

These 3 Republican governors could pose the biggest threat to the Senate health care bill

Why some Republican governors oppose their own party's health care bill