New Netherland at 400: Unlocking the Secrets of the 1914 Time Capsule
The term “time capsule” was coined at the New York World’s Fair of 1939, but a quarter century earlier this richly ornamented bronze casket – possibly the oldest unopened time capsule in the world–was filled, sealed, and entrusted to the New-York Historical Society.
A group of merchants, calling themselves the Lower Wall Street Business Men’s Association, launched it on May 23, 1914, as a part of the tercentenary celebrations of the New Netherland Company’s chartering in 1614 and the beginnings of Dutch North American colonialism. Ceremoniously enclosed by a former mayor, the chest was to remain sealed until 1974, the bicentennial of New York’s appeal for the colonies to form a union. Oversleeping its due date, the chest will finally be unlocked at a ceremony in October. In doing so, we will also be celebrating New Netherland’s 400th birthday! To keep the tradition alive, a new capsule will be dedicated with the help of local students, who will select items that speak to life today for the education of New Yorkers a hundred years in the future.