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V18 2015 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 38, September 20, 2015, Article 33

PROTECTING PAPER OBJECTS IN CORNERSTONES

While there are no coins involved, Len Augsburger forwarded this story from Washington University in St. Louis, adding:

Paper objects in cornerstones don’t always do so well……

WUSTL 1902 cornerstone contents In 1902, Washington University in St. Louis leaders packed a cornerstone box with documents that paid tribute to the campus’ new gymnasium, chronicled life at the university and anticipated the 1904 World’s Fair.

“Those materials show us who we were, and what we valued more than 100 years ago,” said Sonya Rooney, university archivist. “It’s a fascinating snapshot of the time.

Today, the university community is invited to create a time capsule of its own for the cornerstone of the Gary M. Sumers Recreation Center, scheduled to open in August 2016. Justin Carroll, associate vice chancellor for students, said the capsule will celebrate the central role the Athletics Complex plays on campus.

To protect the artifacts, Rooney will print documents on acid-free paper, place photographs in Mylar sleeves and include desiccant packs in the airtight capsule to control humidity.

If only Rooney’s predecessors had taken such care. On Oct. 25, 2014 — precisely 112 years after the gym’s cornerstone ceremony — Rooney, Carroll and others gathered to extract the original copper box from the gymnasium’s cornerstone. After workers drilled for hours, Rooney removed the lid of the copper box and found a brick of crumbling documents.

“We were disappointed so little had survived,” Carroll said. “Still, it was a very exciting, suspenseful morning. It felt like we were getting a rare peek into the past.”

Rooney also was disappointed, but not surprised. A crack in the cornerstone allowed water to seep in and out over time. Only four pages survived: a map of campus and three pages from a course catalog.

The good news was that Rooney not only had a list of the time capsule’s contents, the university archives also contained duplicates of many of the artifacts in the capsule.

To read the complete article, see:
A message to the future; a glimpse into the past (https://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/Sumers-Recreation-Center-Time-Capsule-2015.aspx)



Wayne Homren, Editor

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