CNN affiliate WTVR streamed a live feed that showed the process done by historic preservation experts.
The container was made of lead, which was corroded, so the delicate process took several hours as experts used multiple tools to chip away at the box.
It began at 10 a.m. and ended at around 3 p.m. when Gov. Ralph Northam lifted the lid of the capsule to reveal the items.
Katherine Ridgway, a conservator at Virginia Department of Historic Resources, was one of the experts working on the process and notes that one of the books had “love” written on it and had a coin attached, according to WTVR.
There was also a cloth envelope, which experts say looks like it contains a piece of paper and maybe a picture, according to the live feed.
The items were all wet from moisture that had gathered inside the lead box, so experts had to work carefully to remove them and ensure they stayed preserved.
“Given that the artifacts are wet, they will be put in the freezer to prevent any further deterioration,” Ridgway told WTVR. It is unsure how long that preservation process will take at this time.
History of the time capsule
Workers found the time capsule on December 17 while dismantling the 40-foot pedestal on Monument Avenue in Richmond, according to a news release from Northam’s office.
The time capsule was found in the tower of the pedestal about 20 feet above ground level.
Workers also dug a large 5-foot-deep hole near the cornerstone of the pedestal in hopes of finding the time capsule.
The state plans to store the pedestal until officials decide what to do with the partial monument.
CNN’s Amir Vera and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this story.