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The original item was published from 6/15/2023 4:00:54 PM to 12/1/2023 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: June 15, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Mayor Sheehan Announces Future of Artifacts Contained in the Time Capsule Beneath Schuyler Statue

ALBANY, NY – Mayor Kathy Sheehan was joined by the Albany Institute of History and Art’s Director Emerita Tammis Groft, Interim Director and Chief Curator W. Douglas McCombs, PhD, and Curator Diane Shewchuk to announce the future of the artifacts contained in the time capsule found under the former site of the Gen. Philip Schuyler Statue.

VIDEO: https://fb.watch/lb1OtBFHPc/ 

Mayor Sheehan shared publicly that the document purporting to be the deed of the contents of the time capsule has been opened. That deed (attached here) states:

      This box and its contents are hereby given to the Mayor or Chief Executive Officer of the City of Albany, New York, to be placed by him in the custody of a historical society of the City of Albany, which in his judgment shall be best fitted to use and preserve the same.

      WITNESS my hand and seal this 7th day of May, 1925

      /s/ GEORGE HAWLEY

As directed by Mr. Hawley's deed, Mayor Sheehan announced the City of Albany has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Albany Institute of History and Art for the Institute to take temporary possession of the artifacts, catalog them, and determine how best to preserve them. The City and the Institute also agree that the Institute will arrange and put the items on display for the public as soon as reasonably possible.

Mayor Sheehan and representatives from the Albany Institute of History and Art will show several items from the collection, including:

  • Deed of Gift
  • American Flag with 48 stars
  • Munsell’s Annals of Albany
  • Atlas of Albany from 1876
  • Two (2) Albany Bicentennial Coins (1886)

After the announcement, the Department of General Services removed the artifacts from City Hall and placed them in possession of the Albany Police Department. Mayor Sheehan joined the Albany Police Department to transport the artifacts to the Albany Institute of History and Art where they were placed in the Institute's library to begin the cataloging process.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “The placement of the time capsule makes it clear that George Hawley and those who installed the statue of Gen. Schuyler back in 1925 never intended for the statue to be in front of City Hall forever. These artifacts have already given us a brief glimpse into the life of George Hawley and Albany residents around the turn of the 20th century and into the mid-1920’s. I am honored that George Hawley bestowed the artifacts to be entrusted to the Mayor of the City of Albany, and with that I am entrusting the Albany Institute of History and Art to catalog, preserve, and eventually display these artifacts for the public to see.” 

Albany Institute of History and Art Curator Diane Shewchuk said, “The Albany Institute of History & Art is honored to add the contents of the time capsule to its collection, to interpret the many stories within, and to preserve the artifacts for future generations.”

 

BACKGROUND:

Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced the statue of Gen. Philip Schuyler has been removed from its place in front of Albany City Hall on Saturday, June 10, 2023.

The process of removing the statue began at approximately 5:30am Saturday morning and the statue was removed from the vicinity of City Hall at approximately 8:00am.

The statue has been transported to a secure facility in Albany County until a final decision regarding permanent placement is made.

The statue was removed by John M. Mullins Rigging & Hauling of Green Island, NY – a third-generation Capital Region rigging company that was selected through a competitive bidding process issued on April 10, 2023.

Based on various historical research, it is well-settled that Gen. Philip Schuyler, a Revolutionary War Hero and father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton, enslaved 14 people at his home in Albany and another four at his Saratoga County farm.

Immediately after the murder of George Floyd, scores of community members reached out the Mayor’s Office requesting the removal of the statue of Gen. Schuyler. Individuals also expressed their discomfort with a slave owner being prominently displayed outside a place vital to accessing city services, and employees have shared their discomfort having to walk by the statue when going to and from their place of employment.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan issued an Executive Order on June 11, 2020, directing the removal of the General Schuyler Statue from in front of City Hall.

The Young Abolitionist Leadership Institute at the Underground Railroad Museum completed months of research and recently issued a report that recommended the City should remove the statue of Gen. Schuyler from in front of City Hall and form a commission to determine the future site of the statue.

Legislation forming the City of Albany Commission on Monuments and Public Art was released publicly on Friday, June 9, 2023, and we anticipate it will be deliberated and considered by the Common Council in the coming weeks. A copy of the proposed legislation can be reviewed by visiting: https://www.albanyny.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/1707?fileID=8380 and https://www.albanyny.gov/AgendaCenter/Common-Council-Caucus-Regular-Meeting-5  

When the statue was erected in the 1920’s, there was mention made in local media of the day that a time capsule had been placed at the base of the statue.

After more than six hours of back-breaking work, a team from the City of Albany’s Department of General Services removed the concrete foundation the statue and plinth stood on and discovered a bronze box encased in a steel box. DGS was able to remove the top of the steel box, open the bronze box, and safely remove the time capsule’s contents.

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