Relics of Boston’s colonial past -- including a George Washington medal and silver plaque believed to have been engraved by Paul Revere -- were laid out publicly for the first time Wednesday surrounded by portraits of the founding fathers who sealed them up more than two centuries ago.
The Museum of Fine Arts exhibition is called “Inside the Box," and it offers history buffs the rare opportunity to see, under glass, what was recently found in the Massachusetts State House time capsule. The tiny brass box was painstakingly chiseled from the building’s cornerstone in December, and opened in January.
“Having it be here at the MFA is wonderful for us,” said Exhibition Curator Nonie Gadsden. "Since it was opened here in this very room people have been asking, 'Can we see it?' It got to the point where we had to put a sign up on the front door saying, 'The time capsule will be on view [in March]."
The exhibition features 35 objects, including coins, a medal depicting Washington and the Revere plaque. Newspapers from the time period, which have been remarkably preserved, are also on view.
Gov. Samuel Adams, Revere and Colonel William Scollay placed the time capsule in the cornerstone in 1795.
The capsule is on display in the Art of the America’s Wing in the Museum’s Kristin and Roger Servison Gallery, surrounded by massive portraits of those very men.
The capsule was unearthed in 1855 so the objects could be documented and cleaned. Additional objects were also added at that time.
“These things are cool. This is what historians live for” said Massachusetts Archives Executive Director Michael Comeau. "Circumstances like these shine a spotlight on certain pieces of history. It certainly piques people's curiously, and makes them want to learn about the greater whole. Anything that attracts attention and visibility for our cultural heritage is a great thing."
The objects will be on display at the MFA through April 22. It will be reburied in June during a ceremony