Need to Know 12/99 Time Capsule

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(E) JUST AHEAD ON NEED TO NOW…AFTER 126 YEARS BURIED IN THE STONE WALL OF OLD CITY HALL - ARTIFACTS OF ROCHESTER'S PAST MEETS THE 20TH CENTURY

(G) TONIGHT - WHAT'S IN THE BOX? YOU'LL SEE THE OPENING OF THE TIME CAPSULE - WHAT'S INSIDE AND WHAT ROCHESTER OF 1873 HAS TO SAY TO ROCHESTER OF 2000

(E) WE'LL TALK TO THE CONSERVATOR OF THE TIME CAPSULE AND THE CITY HISTORIAN - IT'S ALL AHEAD ON NEED TO KNOW

(G) GOOD EVENING -THANK YOU FOR JOINING US - A. CARTER WILDER WAS MAYOR - BAUSCH AND LOMB WAS AROUND BUT CAMERAS AND FILM WERE STILL A DREAM TO GEORGE EASTMAN - HE WAS WORKING AS A CLERK IN ROCHESTER - THE YEAR WAS 1873 - FAST FORWARD TO 1999 - EXHUMING A MORE THAN CENTURY OLD BOX AND EXAMINING THE CONTENTS IS NO EASY TASK - THANKFULLY - THE BOX AND CONTENTS ARE BOTH EXREMELY WELL PRESERVED - THE BOX STAYED WATER PROOF AND AIRTIGHT FOR IT'S STAY IN OLD CITY HALL - AND AFTER SOME PRELIMINARY SNOOPING WITH A TINY CAMERA CALLED A BOROSCOPE - THE ROCHESTER MUSEUM AND SCIENCE CENTER OPENED A PIECE OF HISTORY - THERE IS MUCH INSIDE, INCLUDING A MESSAGE FOR OUR MAYOR TODAY - FROM OUR MAYOR 126 YEARS AGO

(G-sin) SO WHAT'S IN THE BOX? PLENTY - AND WE'LL SHOW YOU SOME OF WHAT'S INSIDE AND SOME MATERIAL THAT R-M-S-C OFFICIALS DIDN'T EXPECT TO FIND - BUT FIRST - HERE'S TIME LINE FOR THE TIME CAPSULE ---- AS THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE THEN REPORTED - IT WAS A BRIGHT, CLEAR DAY ON28TH DAY OF MAY - 1873 THAT THE CITY ENTOMBED A CUBIC FOOT COPPER BOX IN THE WALL OF THEN CITY ALL AT THE CORNER OF BROAD AND FITZHUGH - CITY HALL CHANGED - BUT THE BOX REMAINED UNTIL IT WAS EXCAVATED ON SEPTEMBER 11TH THIS YEAR. THE CAPSULE WAS TAKEN TO THE ROCHESTER MUSEUM AND SCIENCE CENTER WHERE IT WAS OPENED ON DECEMBER FIRST AT A CEREMONY AT RMSC AND CARRIED LIVE BY WXXI TV - THE CAPSULE CONTENTS ARE NOW BEING RETRIEVED AND PRESERVED BY RMSC AND WILL BE ON PUBLIC DISPLAY 7 DAYS A WEEK AS OF JANUARY FIRST AT THE MUSEUM AND AN SATELLITE EXHIBITS AROUND THE COMMUNITY

(g) FOR YOU AND ME - THE UNEARTHING AND OPENING OF A TIME CAPSULE IS EXCITING - FOR A HISTORIAN - IT'S THE SUPERBOWL - NEED TO KNOW'S MATT CUMMINGS TELLS THE STORY OF THE TIME CAPSULE THROUGH THE EYES OF THE THOSE WHO HAVE LONG AWAITED TO HEAR THE VOICES OF DAYS GONE BY.

MATT'S TIME CAPSULE PACKAGE

Voice from the past: In future ages when we and our children and our children's children are dead, the people who shall take down this building and uncover the records of this cornerstone will rise up and call us blessed for the seed of prosperity we have sewn.

REPORTER: IT WAS A CHILLY SPRING DAY WHEN THIS CHILD OF ROCHESTER'S PAST WAS FIRST CONCEIVED. IN FACT IT WAS MAY 28TH, 1873, WHEN ROCHESTER FOREFATHERS, UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYES OF THOUSANDS OF SPECTATORS, SENT A MESSAGE ACROSS THE AGES TO THE PEOPLE OF THE FUTURE.

Voice from the past: Here are to be deposited the records and archives of the city's history. Here mainly shaped and molded.

REPORTER: A MESSAGE IN THE FORM OF A COPPER BOX FULL OF ARTIFACTS. A TIME CAPSULE.

RALPH WEIGANDT: IT WAS PLACES IN WHEN THEY BUILT THE OLD CITY HALL IN 1873, SO IT WAS OUT BELOW THE CORNERSTONE OF THE BUILDING AND IT WAS SEALED UP AT THAT TIME.

REPORTER: THAT TIME WAS 126 YEARS AND FOUR MONTHS BEFORE SEPTEMBER 1999, WHEN CURATORS FROM THE ROCHESTER MUSEUM AND SCIENCE CENTER OVERSAW THE EXCAVATION OF THE TIME CAPSULE FROM THIS BUILDING ON IRVING PLACE.

RALPH WEIGANDT: IT WAS PUT BELOW THE CONERSTONE OF THE BUILDING OF THE BUILDING AND IT WAS SEALED UP AT THAT TIME. THE PROCESS WAS MOVING THE CORNERSTONE ASIDE AND FINDING THAT THE TIME CAPSULE WAS ACTUALLY BELOW THE CONERSTONE. MORE AND MORE OF IT WAS REVELAED AND WE THEN FINALLY WE REALIZED WE COULD GET IT OUT AND THERE WE HAD A REAL PIECE OF HISTORY IN OUR HANDS THAT THERE WAS STILL MYSTERY TO AND WE WERE GOING TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DIRECTLY COMMUNICATE WITH THE PEOPLE FROM THE PAST.

REPORTER: LIKE THE PACKING, THAT COMMUNICATION WAS AS EXACTING AND WELL PRESERVED AS THE BOX WHICH HELD IT.

RALPH WEIGANDT: THE PEOPLE WHO PUT THIS TOGETHER DID EVERYTHING RIGHT. THEY DID A GREAT JOB OF MAKING THIS TIME CAPSULE SO THAT THERE WERE NO PERFORATIONS IN IT AND SEALING IT UP. AND THEN THE BOX WAS SLIGHTLY HEATED WHEN THEY RAN THE BEAD OF SODDER AROUND THIS. SO IT MIGHT HAVE DRIED IT OUT A LITTLE BIT MORE. AND THEN THE FACT IT WAS IN A COPPER CONTAINER. COPPER IS TOXIC TO MANY BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES.

REPORTER: WHILE WEIGAND WAITED FOR THE OFFICIAL OPENING IN DECEMBER, A LOCAL COMPANY DONATED A WAY TO GET A SNEAK PREVIEW.

NAT SOUND OF BOROSCOPE WORKERS: THERE IS SOMETHING. DOES THAT SAY ROCHESTER. YES ROCHESTER.

REPORTER: A MEDICAL INSTRUMENT THAT TURNED A TINY HOLE IN THE BOX,

NAT SOUND OF BOROSCOPE WORKERS: THAT MAY BE PARCHMENT.

REPORTER: INTO A BIRD'S EYE VIEW.

NAT SOUND OF BOROSCOPE WORKERS: THAT PRINT IS JUST BEAUTIFUL.

RALPH WEIGANDT: THERE ON TOP WAS A LETTER THAT WAS PUT IN AS THE LAST COMMUNICATION ADDRESSED TO THOSE WHO OPENED THIS BOX. AND CITED ULYSES GRANT WAS PRESIDENT AT THAT TIME AND ALL THE OTHER DIGNITARIES THAT WERE PRESENT AT THAT SEALING. THE COLORS WERE AS VIBRANT AS THE DAY THEY WERE PUT IN THERE. AND THERE WAS NO DISTORTION OR MOLD. IT WAS A PERFECTLY PRESERVED PIECE OF PAPER.

REPORTER: BUT THERE WAS MORE THAN PAPER IN THE CAPSULE. MONEY, AND PHOTOGRAPHS WERE ALSO APPARENT THROUGH THE BORISCOPE. JUST AS THE PUBLIC WITNESSED THE INCEPTION OF THE TIME CAPSULE IN 1873, SO THEY WERE PRESENT 126 YEARS LATER.

RALPH AT CEREMONY: ONLY TWO SMALL BRIDGES OF METAL ARE LEFT HOLDING THE TOP IN PLACE.

ROCHESTER'S MAYOR, DIGNITARIES AND RELATIVES OF THOSE WHO CONTRIBUTED THE FIRST TIME AROUND, WATCHED BREATHLESSLY AS RALPH WEIGANDT USED A FLEXIBLE SHAFT TOOL TO OPEN THE BOX COMPLETELY.

RALPH AT CEREMONY: LET US SEE. WOW! (CROWD APPLAUSE) OH WELL. I DIDN'T SCRIPT THAT PART.

DAVID KOON: THAT WAS LIKE COLD CHILLS WHEN HE TOOK THE LID OFF THE BOX AND EVERYTHING WAS SO WELL PRESERVED.

REPORTER: THE OPEN CAPSULE REVEALED DOZENS OF ITEMS, CAREFULLY PACKED. ALL BEARING MESSAGES FROM THE PAST, WITH THE FIRST WORDS ON TOP, A LETTER TO THE ROCHESTER MAYOR OF 1999.

MAYOR JOHNSON: WELL REALLY IT WAS ONE OF THOSE ABSOLUTELY RARE MOMENTS. TO KNOW THAT I WAS TOUCHING SOMETHING, HANDLING SOMETHING, THAT WAS THAT OLD THAT HAD BEEN PRESERVED IN ALMOST PERFECT CONDITION. I JUST FELT THAT I WAS BEING TRANSFERRED BACK INTO TIME.

REPORTER: THE ROCHESTER MUSEUM AND SCIENCE CENTER IMMEDIATELY DISPLAYED THE CAPSULE-IT CONTENT STILL MYSTERIOUS- AS MOST OF THEM WERE WRAPPED TIGHTLY AND CAREFULLY

RALPH WEIGANDT: THEN WHAT WE CAN SEE WAS A BOOK ALONG THE SIDE THAT HAS A LEATHER BINDING. A VERY BEAUTIFUL RED LEATHER BINDING WITH GOLD INLAY EMBOSSED LETTERING. ALL IN PERFECT CONDIDIITON. AND THEN BELOW THE LETTER, A SEQUENCE OF PACKAGES THAT SEEMED TO ALL BE SEALED AND LABLED AND WRITTEN ON INDIVIDUALLY WHICH WE COULD NOT SEE WITH THE BOROSCOPE AT THIS POINT. BUT TOLD US THERE WAS A VERY DISTINCT ORDER AND A VERY CAREFUL PACKAGING OF THESE CONTENTS.

REPORTER: SINCE THE CONTENTS WERE PUBLISHED IN NEWSPAPERS OF THE DAY, WE ALREADY KNOW WHAT'S IN THE CAPSULE. AND AS THE MUSEUM AND SCIENCE CENTER EXAMINES AND CATALOGUES ITS CONTENTS, THEY SWEAR THEY CAN HEAR VOICES FROM THE PAST.

KATE BENNETT: WE HAVE SOMETHING FROM THE FIRE PEOPLE. WE HAVE SOMETHING FROM THE POLICE. BUT WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THIS IS THE ORDINARINESS OF WHAT THEY PUT IN THE TIME CAPSULE. AND BY ORDINARINESS, I DON'T MEAN TO SAY THAT IT'S NOT WONDERFUL, BECAUSE WHAT IT IS IS THE PEOPLE WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THE LIFE OF THE CITY IN THAT ERA, WHOSE NAMES ARE IN THIS CAPSULE, WHOSE JOBS ARE IN THIS CAPSULE. WE ALL HAVE VERY ORDINARY LIVES AND WE ALL HAVE EXTRAORDINARY LIVES. AND WE'RE LIVING THEM SIDE BY SIDE.

CONNIE BODNER: I KNOW THAT THE DAY THAT WE WERE OUT THERE TAKING IT OUT OF THE CORNERSTONE, WE KEPT THINKING ABOUT WHAT THE DAY MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE IN 1873. WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH THEIR MINDS. AND THAT WAS REALLY QUITE WONDERFUL TO PONDER. THERE WAS A CONNCETEDNESS THAT WE DON'T USUALLY GET, HUMAN TO HUMAN.

AND NOW LET'S GET FURTHER INTO THE BOX - AND FURTHER INTO THE TIME IT WAS BURIED. NEED TO KNOW'S JENNIFER REED LOOKS AT SOME OF WHAT'S IN THE BOX AND ALSO - WITH THE HINDSIGHT OF HISTORY SOME THINGS THAT ROCHESTARIANS 126 YEARS AGO - DID NOT INCLUDE IN THEIR MESSAGE TO THE FUTURE

((NATSOUND OF CAPSULE OPENING))

>>REP: HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF.

>>LEE KEMP/RMSC HISTORIAN: "WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN THIS BOX IS WHAT THOSE PEOPLE OF THAT DAY WANTED US TO SEE; IT'S COMMUNICATION WITH THEM AND IT'S COMMUNICATION ABOUT HOW THEY FELT ABOUT THEMSELVES."

>>REP: THAT ALONE MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON TO LOOK INTO THE PAST.

>>KEMP: "TODAY, WHEN WE DO HISTORY, WHAT TELLS US ABOUT THE PAST USUALLY ARE THINGS THAT ARE LEFT THAT WE SEE OR READ- THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS TRUE REPRESENTATIONS OF WHAT THE PAST WAS REALLY LIKE. WE CAN'T GET INTO THE MINDS OF PEOPLE AND THIS IS A WAY OF GETTING INTO THEIR MIND; IT'S KIND OF A LITTLE SLIVER OF LOOKING AT THEM."

>>REP: WITH THE YEAR TWO-THOUSAND ONE-DAY AWAY, THERE IS NO BETTER TIME, THAN THE PRESENT.

>>KEMP: "WE MAY FIND SOMETHING THAT'S A REAL SURPRISE WHEN WE REALLY LOOK AT THE ITEMS-- REMEMBER THEY'RE ALL IN PACKAGES, AND ALSO THE WAY THEY'RE PACKAGED MAY BE A CLUE."

>>REP: THE TIGHTLY SEALED BOX HAS BEEN HOME TO THESE CAREFULLY WRAPPED ARTIFACTS FOR THE LAST 126 YEARS. FOR THE LAST MONTH, RALPH WEIGANDT HAS BEEN REMOVING THEM.

>>RALPH WEIGANDT/RMSC CONSERVATOR: "WE'RE DOING IT LAYER BY LAYER, STARTING AT THE TOP AND WE'RE DOWN TO ABOUT… WE'RE ON LAYER 26 RIGHT NOW.

>>REP: CAREFULLY AND METHODICALLY, ONE BY ONE-- HE CONSIDERS EACH FIND ANOTHER PIECE OF THE PUZZLE- A PUZZLE HE HOPES TO SUCCESSFULLY PUT BACK TOGETHER.

>>WEIGANDT: "WE'RE APPROXIMATELY EIGHT INCHES DOWN INTO THE BOX- AND WE'RE PROCEEDING AS IF THIS WERE AN ARCHEOLOGICAL EXCAVATION. WE'LL MAINTAIN THE PRECISE ORDER AND SEQUENCE OF THE WAY THE BOX WAS PACKED."

>>REPORTER STAND UP: AND THAT IS NOT AN EASY FEAT- ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU FACTOR IN MORE THAN A CENTURY AND A QUARTER OF RESTING QUIETLY HERE IN THE CORNER STONE OF THE OLD CITY HALL- IMMUNE TO THE CITY'S HUSTLE AND BUSTLE-- AND SAFELY SHELTERED FROM THE ELEMENTS OF TIME.

>>WEIGANDT: "THE CONDITION OF THE CONTENTS IS SO REMARKABLE THAT WE'RE REALLY EXTRACTING THINGS THAT REALLY APPEAR TO BE MUCH LIKE THE CONDITION THEY WERE IN ON THE DAY THEY WERE PACKED. IT'S A CAPSULE OF INFORMATION. AND IF WE RETAIN IT NOW, THEN IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE WON'T BE ASKING DOWN THE ROAD. BECAUSE WE NEVER KNOW WHAT THE QUESTIONS MAY BE- AND I THINK TO REALLY ANALYZE AND UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY MEANT WHEN THEY PACKED IT- THE ORDER THEY PUT IT IN AND HOW THEY SEQUENCED IT- MIGHT HAVE BEEN SIGNIFICANT- IT MAY NOT BE, BUT WE CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO KNOW."

((NAT SOUND: REP: TAKE US THROUGH- RW: I'D BE GLAD TO.))

>>WEIGANDT: "THE FIRST OBJECT PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT IS THE LETTER THAT MAYOR JOHNSON READ- WHICH WAS THE DOCUMENT ON TOP- AND IT SORT OF SETS THE MOMENT IN TIME WHICH IT WAS PUT TOGETHER AND WHAT'S INTERESTING IS IT SAYS "LAO DAIO'S"- WHICH IS "PRAISE GOD."

>>DANIEL BARBER/RMSC CURATOR: "IT SEEMS THAT THEY WANTED TO BE VERY POSITIVE ABOUT LIFE AT THAT TIME- THIS WAS A TIME OF GREAT DEPRESSION IN ROCHESTER FROM 1873 TO ABOUT 1878."

>>REP: THE CIVIL WAR HAD ENDED ONLY EIGHT YEARS EARLIER- AND ROCHESTER'S ECONOMY WAS STRUGGLING- IT HAD BEEN KNOWN AS THE "FLOUR CITY" BECAUSE IT SUPPLIED GRAINS WORLDWIDE-- BUT THE END OF THE WAR- ALSO SIGNALED- AN END TO THE TRADITIONAL IDEAS OF SUPPLY AND DEMAND.

>>BARBER: "ROCHESTER AT THIS POINT WAS BECOMING THE "FLOWER" F-L-O-W-E-R AND THAT WAS A MAJOR CHANGE FOR ROCHESTER AND ROCHESTER EVEN IN 1873 WAS NOW BEING LOOKED UPON ALL OVER THE COUNTRY FOR VEGETABLE SEEDS, FLOWER SEEDS AND FOR GARDEN SEEDS- SO THIS WAS A MAJOR THING AND WHICH STAYS WITH US TODAY THROUGH THE LILAC FESTIVAL AND ALL THOSE THINGS THAT CELEBRATE ROCHESTER AS A FLOWER CITY."

>>WEIGANDT: "THIS IS THE BRIGGS BROTHERS ILLUSTRATED CATALOG- FLOWER, VEGETABLE AND SEEDS. THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT AND OTHER AGENTS OF DETERIORATION HAVE RETAINED THE ILLUSTRATIONS. I HAVEN'T SEEN VOLUMES OF THIS AGE- IN THIS CONDITION. THEN THERE'S A COUPLE OF LETTERS THAT ARE SEALED AND PART OF THE WAY WE'RE PROCESSING THINGS IS WE'RE NOT OPENING THESE YET- THAT'S ANOTHER LEVEL OF ACCESS- WHERE WE HAVE TO CAREFULLY SOFTEN THE GLUES AND OPEN THE ENVELOPE. THIS, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT'S IN IT- IT JUST SAYS DONATED TO THE NEW CITY HALL."

>>REP: ALTHOUGH MOST OF THE REMOVED ARTICLES ARE STILL WRAPPED- AND THEREFORE STILL A MYSTERY- THE CAPSULE'S CONTENT IS STAYING IN LINE WITH THE 1873 PUBLISHED NEWSPAPER LIST OF THE DAY- LOTS OF MASONIC AND EVEN SOME ANTI-MASONIC MATERIAL- AS WELL AS SOME TIME HONORED DOCUMENTS LIKE ELLWANGER AND BARRY SEED CATALOGUES---COPIES OF THE ONTARIO MESSENGER AND NOTE ON THE POWERS FIREPROOF BUILDING.

>>WEIGANDT: "JUST TO SHOW HOW SIGNIFICANT THIS TIME CAPSULE WAS TO THE MOMENT- THEY TOOK THE MANUAL OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK- WHICH WAS ALL THE LAWS AND GOVERNMENTAL PROCEDURES- BUT BOUND IT SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS EVENT. HERE'S A PHOTOGRAPH OF A YOUNG BOY- OTHERWISE UNIDENTIFIED, BUT ON THE BACK IT SAYS 'THE ONLY BOY SAVED FROM THE WRECK OF THE 'ATLANTIC' OFF THE COAST OF THE NOVA SCOTIA- SIX HUNDRED PERSONS DROWNED'- SO WHAT ITS SIGNIFICANCE IS- IN THIS BOOK- I DON'T KNOW."

>>REP: GEORGE EASTMAN IS NOT MENTIONED. EASTMAN HADN'T MADE HIS MARK YET- BUT HE WAS PROBABLY THERE- HE MAY HAVE TAKEN TIME OFF FROM HIS JOB AS A CLERK TO SEE THE TIME CAPSULE BURIED. SOME OF THE THINGS WE'D EXPECT TO SEE IN A LEDGER OF THE DAY--- ARE NOT HERE. NO COPY OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS' "NORTH STAR" FOR EXAMPLE- NO RECORD OF THE 1848 WOMENS RIGHTS CONVENTION AND VERY LITTLE FROM SUSAN B ANTHONY.

>>BARBER: "THEY SORT OF OMITTED- THEY WERE LOOKING MORE, THEY STILL HAD THE MELTING POT IDEA, THAT OF A DOMINANT CULTURE- THERE'S NOT A WHOLE LOT OF REFERENCE TO AFRICAN-AMERICANS. OF COURSE, SUSAN B. ANTHONY WAS AROUND AT THAT TIME- THERE WERE MEMBERS OF THE CITY GOVERNMENT WHO DID UNDERSTAND THE PLIGHT OF WOMEN, IN PHILOSOPHICAL TERMS, ANYWAY- THERE'S SOME REPRESENTATION HERE THAT THEY WERE GOING TO REPRESENT THOSE ISSUES- IN THE NOT TOO DISTANT FUTURE."

>>REP: BUT AS WE TAKE A LOOK BACK FROM THE FUTURE- 1873 WAS MUCH MORE THAN AN EVOLVING "FLOUR TO FLOWER CITY". IT WAS THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE FUTURE. AND YET, DOUGLASS AND ANTHONY WENT LARGELY UNRECOGNIZED IN THEIR OWN TIME--- AND, IN THEIR OWN TIME CAPSULE- WHICH MAKES US WONDER WHAT WE'LL LEAVE OUT OF OURS.

>>BARBER: "IF WE DON'T UNDERSTAND OUR PAST, WE'RE GOING TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES."

(E) IF YOU WANT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE TIME CAPSULE - LOG ON TO THE WXXI WEB PAGE AND THERE IS ALSO A LINK TO THE R-M-S-C WEB SITE. WXXI THE R.M.S.C - THE CITY AND THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE ARE ALSO CREATING A WEB SITE RESOURCE FOR THE CAPSULE-WATCH AND LISTEN TO WXXI FOR MORE DETAILS

(E) YOU CAN ALSO POST COMMENTS ON OUR DISCUSSION BOARD - OR EMAIL US DIRECTLY AT NEEDTOKNOW-DOT-ORG - YOU CAN ALSO WRITE US A THE ADDRESS ON YOUR SCREEN - OR CALL ME AT 716-258-0250 - I'LL BE GLAD T HERE YOUR FEEDBACK

(G) THANKS FOR JOINING US - GOOD NIGHT

(E) GOOD NIGHT

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