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The RSA Archive is taking part this November in the ‘Explore Your Archive’ campaign, initiated by the National Archive, to raise awareness of the value of archives and the variety of content held, preserved and made available by archives. 

The starting point for the RSA’s Archive project is 28 March 1772, when the foundation stones were laid for a permanent building to house the Society. It is the intriguing story of how, almost 20 years after the RSA's inaugural meeting in 1754 this moment was marked for posterity by our members. During the ceremony, two time capsules were placed under the foundation stones of the building designed by the Adams brothers, a building that was destined to become the Society’s home for the next 240 years, and still counting! 

In the handwritten minutes, eyewitness John Phillips recounts the ceremony in detail, how the items,’ …were placed in a glass container, sealed with glazier’s putty, and deposited under the first stone laid’.  Two inscribed copper plates were also included by way of explanation, should the capsules be unearthed at a future date. 

The RSA Archive not only invites you to explore our past but you can discover some of the best content from today’s RSA in a 21st Century enlightenment time capsule highlighting the impact that digitised e-documents and digital records are having on the field of knowledge visualisation, and their future archival preservation.

Arrow Vale RSA Academy and the RSA Academy, Tipton have also been involved in the project and on Thursday 21 November sixth formers from Arrow Vale will be burying a physical time capsule in the school grounds. Digital versions of the time capsule’s content and images of the ceremony, along with material from Tipton, will be included

Details of how to access the digital time capsules will be available on the RSA website soon. You can find out more about the campaign on the Explore Your Archive website. You can also discover the latest on the campaign by searching for the hashtag #explorearchives on Twitter. 


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