Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Boston - On Tuesday, January 6, 2015, at 6:00 PM, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), will hold a press conference to open the time capsule recently removed from the cornerstone of the State House, revealing its contents for the first time since 1855. One of the oldest in the country, the time capsule was originally placed under the State House cornerstone in 1795 by Governor Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and William Scollay. It was previously unearthed in 1855, when the contents were documented and cleaned. At that time, additional materials were added to the capsule, which was then placed in a brass contained and returned to the State House, where it was plastered into the underside of a massive granite cornerstone.

On Thursday, December 11, 2014, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and the Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin’s office oversaw the removal of the State House cornerstone, and the time capsule contained within. THe removal was designed by the engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger and executed by Walsh Brothers Construction and their sub-contractors. 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. Pam Hatchfield, the MFA’s Robert P. And Carol T. Henderson Head of Objects Conservation, removed the time capsule and coins in a process that took more than seven hours.

Following its excavation, the time capsule––weighing 10 pounds andmeasuring 5-1/2 x 7-1/2 x 1-1/2 inches––was x-rayed at the MFA on December 14, 2014. X-rays revealed what is believed to be a collection of silver and copper coins (dating from 1652 and 1855); an engraved silver plate; a copper medal depicting George Washington; newspapers; the seal of the Commowealth; cards; and a title page from the Massachusetts Colony Records. These objects were described in the 1855 account of the reburying ceremony.

Media Information

Due to extremely limited space and object sensitivity, only pre-credentialed media will be allowed in the press conference. An on-site simulcast will be available for overflow capacity. Following the press conference, the time capsule and objects will be available for b-roll and still photography, providing their condition allows (please see filming guidelines below). Commonwealth and MFA officials will also be available for interviews following the reveal.

All media who wish to cover this event should submit a request for credentials in writing to the MFA by Tuesday, December 30:

- Karen Frascona at kfrascona@mfa.org

- Amelia Kantrovitz at akantrovitz@mfa.org

Media that do not submit requests by the deadline of Tuesday, December 30, will not be permitted to access the event.


Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115


- 5:00 pm Media arrivals (Huntington Avenue entrance)

- 6:00 pm Press conference begins in Art of the Americas Wing

- 7:30 pm Press conference concludes; Photography/B-Roll of capsule contents; one-on-one interview with Commonwealth/MFA officials


- Media parking located in the Fenway lot, off Museum Road

- Broadcast outlets with satellite trucks must submit requests in writing by Tuesday, December 30, 2014.


- Cameras and tripods WILL be permitted

- Camera booms, ladders, standing lights and dollies are NOT allowed

- All equipment must be placed at least one foot from objects and walls

- All equipment on wheels must have locking systems to prevent movement when not in use, and should never be unattended.

- All stands should have rubber or nylon tips at their feet

- Crews carrying equipment should walk single file through the Museum’s galleries. No hand carrying of large equipment.

- Speakers and a mult box will be installed in thegallery for use by media.


- NO standing lights will be permited. NO flash will be allowed.

- Due to the materials’ sensitivity, they must not be exposed to quartz iodide or halogen lights because of the extreme heat they produced. These lighting measurements are guidelines for understanding the sensitivity of materials.

- Camera lights must be 5 foot-candles or 50 lux or less.

- Camera setup and camera focusing should be done in available light only. Light should be reflected/bounced rather than aimed directly at objects.

- Maximum power levels: Equipment using more than 20 amps is not permitted.