Items in uncovered Port Arthur time capsule destroyed by chemica - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Items in uncovered Port Arthur time capsule destroyed by chemicals, water

Museum goers had some moments of anticipation as a time capsule was opened up Wednesday at the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur.  Unfortunately, water and chemicals had seeped into the underground container and destroyed most of its contents.

"The time capsule unfortunately failed.   The seals on the time capsule failed despite the best efforts of the people who buried it 20 years ago to seal it up nice in a PVC tube with PVC glue.  The best we can determine is that some chemical agent in the groundwater dissolved the PVC glue allowing the pressure of the groundwater to force its way into the time capsule, essentially corrupted and destroyed most of the contents," said David Beard, Director of the Museum.

The items that did survive were placed on display for those who attended Wednesday's ceremony.

Some of the items from the capsule were not identifiable.

"That's still a mystery for us, what exactly was in there.  We know what survived, the few items are on the table did survive, what else is there we can only guess," said Beard.

The time capsule was opened to mark this summer as both the 20th anniversary of the Museum of the Gulf Coast operating at 700 Procter St. in downtown Port Arthur, and the 50th anniversary of the Port Arthur Historical Society, which runs the museum with help from Lamar State College-Port Arthur and the City of Port Arthur.

Those who attended the event were able to get a first public peek at the museum's new exhibit, "Fifty Years, Fifty Objects," and light refreshments and hors d'oeuvres.

The exhibit "Fifty Years, Fifty Objects" offers artifacts from Port Arthur's past, some of which have never before been displayed by the museum. They represent each of the 50 years since the State of Texas approved the charter for Port Arthur's first museum.

Although many of the items from the first time capsule did not survive, there are plans to create another, one with more safeguards for its contents.

"That is our intention, to bury another one and to open it on the 50th anniversary. However this one will not be buried below the water table and we will come up with the best engineered seals that can to go to battle the elements of of mother nature," said Beard.

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