The contents of a time capsule laid to rest amid great fanfare in 1795 were very carefully inspected in Boston last night. Museum of Fine Arts conservator Pam Hatchfield used tools such as a porcupine quill to pluck items from America's oldest time capsule, which was placed in the cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse by Paul Revere, Sam Adams, and others after a 15-gun salute to honor the 15 US states, ABC reports. The capsule, which last saw the light of day in 1855, was removed as part of a building maintenance project in December.
The contents—including coins from as far back as 1652, a medal depicting George Washington, a title page from the Massachusetts Colony records, an engraved silver plate, and five newspapers—were cataloged after the 1855 opening, but last night's inspection offered new details, including the names of the newspapers and the inscription on the plate, which commemorated the building of the Statehouse, the Boston Globe reports. Some of the items were added in 1855, but Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin says he would rather not "taint" the historical box with 21st-century souvenirs when it's placed back in the cornerstone later this year after the museum displays the contents. (Read more Paul Revere stories.)