Time capsule findings to be showcased in Albany
A new exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art will showcase what was found at a recently unearthed time capsule.
This new exhibit has something for everybody: newspapers, maps, a pistol, postcards with pictures of buildings that are still standing today, and paper coins.
“They’re really tiny. You see George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are on them, along with different secretaries of the treasury,” Dawn Shewchuk said.
Shewchuk is a curator at the Albany Institute of History & Art. She designed the entire three-room exhibit.
“I went through and read every single letter and I looked at every object,” Shewchuk said.
George Hawley was the brains behind the operation in 1925. He paid for Philip Schuyler’s statue put in front of Albany City Hall.
A crew removed the statue of General Philip Schuyler from outside Albany City Hall in June. The statue had been in the same spot for nearly 100 years.
Schuyler was a Revolutionary War hero and one of the largest owners of enslaved people in Albany.
Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced plans to remove the statue in 2020 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. However, it stayed put for several more years.
Shewchuk said George Hawley did all of this in memory of his wife, Theodora.
George Hawley left an unexpected surprise in the time capsule.
“This is when I first decided this was a love story in a box. After she [Theodora] dies and he commissions the statue, he buries everything in it. He actually buried the ring that he gave her on Christmas in December 1891. This is her engagement ring. There are 17 diamonds in there. A beautiful gold ring.”
There was also this letter addressed to the future mayor, but it addresses the mayor as a “him.”
Mayor Kathy Sheehan said everything placed in the time capsule was from businessmen.
“We don’t hear from children. We don’t hear from women; we don’t hear from people of color. It’s telling a very specific part of our history but it’s still an important part of our history.”
NewsChannel 13 asked Mayor Sheehan what would be the one thing she would want to take from the exhibit.
“I will say if I could take something for myself, my husband is a coin collector, so I would probably take one of the coins and he would get to pick.”
The exhibit opens to the public on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Tickets are $10.