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Notes from the Archive: the High School of Practical Arts time capsule


Today, at 3:30 p.m., Mayor Walsh and Interim School Superintendent Laura Perille will open the new Dearborn STEM Academy on Greenville Street with a ribbon cutting ceremony. More than 100 years ago, students at the High School of Practical Arts buried a time capsule at this site. 

The academy is a new building located on the site of the old Dearborn School. As you can see in the photo below, the old Dearborn Building housed a number of Boston Public Schools, including the High School of Practical Arts, a high school for girls that focused on “practical” studies.

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Students from the High School of Practical Arts buried a time capsule at the school in 1912 or 1913. During the demolition of the building in 2015, the time capsule was uncovered and its contents were transferred to the City Archives.

The school’s students filled the time capsule with newspapers, graduation programs, school textbooks, student work, and the school’s Program of Studies. 

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Some of our favorite records from the time capsule are these drawings done by students. The drawings below were done by Grace Reynolds and A. Meehan.

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Students not only drew dresses, but also learned to design and draw furniture, like the buffets below, drawn by student Sally Sinnott.

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These students were likely in one of the art classes described in the pamphlet below. This is a pamphlet about the school’s courses that was also tucked away in the time capsule.

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More items from the time capsule will be on display at the Dearborn Stem Academy.