I’m a sucker for stories about time capsules found in completely unexpected places and containing curious bits and bobs. A recent New Yorker post describes a time capsule from the 1940s found in the Smithsonian’s National Museum for Natural History. Inside a wooden, there was a crumpled up newspaper cartoon, a note listing the names of three people involved in the preparation of a dinosaur skeleton from the Jurassic Period, and one of the men’s Boy Scout leader card…..

The story has even more curious twists and turns:

The time capsule soon wound up in the office of Siobhan Starrs, the exhibit’s developer, and one morning in December several of her colleagues dropped by to see it. As they peered at the items, now stored in a conservation box with a clear plastic lid, Starrs said, “I wish I could ask Murray why he decided to put his Boy Scout pack-leader card in here.”

The museum’s historical records held a clue. As a child, during a 1928 scouting trip on the Chesapeake Bay, Murray found a skull, which he took to the museum for assessment. Gilmore determined it to be that of a fossil porpoise. The Boy Scouts led Murray to his life’s work. Later, after a religious conversion, he became a “creation scientist” and used paleontology to argue against evolution.

From palaeontologist to creation scientist. Curiouser and curiouser…


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