100-Year-Old Time Capsule Discovered

A 100-year old time capsule was found at Baltimore’s Washington Monument during a restoration project. And it seems officials are hesitant to even open it because of how old it is.

According to the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy, the capsule will be moved to neighboring Walters Art Museum where conservators will determine its condition and advise when it will be safe to open. Having been exposed to the area’s dampness and conditions over the past century, the contents of the box may be in poor condition, officials said.

Designed by architect Robert Mills, the Washington Monument is almost 200 years old and was the first one to honor the United State’s first president, George Washington. Work began on the site in 1815 and concluded in1829. Mills designed the much larger Washington Monument in capitol Washington D.C. years later.

The fastened copper box was discovered behind a plaque commemorating the monument’s centennial on Defender’s Day, Sept. 12, 1915. It was found on October 16 while project superintendent George Wilk II was investigating how the plaque was attached to the wall, the conservancy said.

“I removed the plaque just enough to stick my hand behind the plaque to stick a camera back there and take a photo,” Wilk said in a statement to ABC affiliate WMAR in Baltimore. “In the photo showed a box so I reattached the plaque and called Dr. Humphries to let him know that there was a box in the niche behind the plaque.”

On October 15, just a day before, a 113-year-old time capsule was found and opened in Boston – outside Boston’s Old State House – containing sealed letters, photographs, newspaper clippings and the book “Foreign Relations of the United States, 1886.”

The conservancy suggested the new capsule may contain copies of commemorate programs and issues of The Sun newspaper, as well other documents and objects.

“We were hoping that the plaster in the niche might give us clues as to the appearance of the original plaster in the museum room,” Lance Humphries, chair of the conservancy’s restoration committee, said. “Little did we realize that there was an actual time capsule stashed behind the plaque.”

The Mount Vernon Place Conservancy has conducted a $5.5 million restoration of the monument that’s been ongoing since January.