A view from the past: Update on 1909 Albemarle County time capsule

time capsule

The time capsule was placed in a cavity in the concrete foundation beneath the base of the At Ready memorial located in front of the Albemarle County Courthouse at Court Square. The time capsule was placed in March 1909 and was retrieved in September 2020. Photo Credit: Eze Amos.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors received a presentation this week on the status of the recovery and assessment of the time capsule that was retrieved from the base of the At Ready memorial at Courthouse Square when the statue was removed on Sept. 12.

The Board also approved the permanent gift of the time capsule and its contents to UVA Library.

A virtual exhibition will be planned for the community this winter.

The time capsule was placed in a cavity at the center of the concrete foundation upon which the stone base pieces were placed in 1909, as reported in The Daily Progress. When the final stone base piece was removed on Sept. 12, it revealed a murky water-filled cavity and the loosened lid of a copper box.

After several hours of cutting the concrete around the box, the box was able to be lifted out, revealing a water-logged box with damaged sides.

UVA Library Special Collections consulted in the retrieval approach and received the time capsule on the evening it was removed. Over the past two months, conservators have worked carefully to recover some items from the time capsule.

It is believed that the concrete foundation expanded over time, crushing the sides of the box and exposing the contents to the elements over the course of the past 111 years.

More information about this work is available in a blog post by UVA Library Special Collections Conservator, Sue Donovan.

UVA Library Special Collections is storing the time capsule and its contents in a low humidity environment to prevent further deterioration.


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