In 1967, sixth graders at the Tisbury school created a time capsule, filling a metal box with items that encapsulated the year and sealing it away into the wall of the library. On Saturday, some of those students gathered together again to open it, half a century later.

John Schilling looks back at memories from his sixth grade year. — Maria Thibodeau

Some items placed in the box had faded from their memories, but some parts of sixth grade still stood out strong. Their teacher, the late Dorothy R. Howell, was strict but a good teacher, the former students agreed. They had to keep their hair out of their eyes and sloppy cursive put you in danger of a smack across the hand.

Lester Baptiste, Belinda Maseda and Debbie Fitzpatrick Rolston stood together near the back of the crowd, reminiscing about their sixth grade class. Mr. Baptiste remembered that students had to stay current with the news for Mrs. Howell’s class.

“When we were on the playground we used to go in the trash and pick out the paper immediately before we went to her class, and...we got the news,” he said. “This friend of ours, Russell Snowden, he brought the day before’s paper and he started reading it and she said, ‘that was two days ago.’”

The sixth grade class with late teacher Dorothy Howell. — Maria Thibodeau

“Are your fingernails clean, are your ears clean?” remembered another former student.

It was quite an effort to pry open the box, which was made by Edwin K. Donald, the Vineyard Haven metalsmith. Class members entered their names into a drawing to be the one to open the box. Linda Alley won.

“One of the West Tisbury kids,” said John Schilling, classmate and town fire chief.

Ms. Alley was confronted by a stubborn seal. Others stood to take a crack at the top before a box cutter was introduced. When that failed a pair of shears came to the rescue, and finally the top was pried off in two pieces.

Some of the sixth grade class, 50 years later. — Maria Thibodeau

“This box did not come with instructions,” said Amy Ryan, the library director.

Under a pile of paper towels (from 1967) treasures were removed with care and gasps of remembrance.

All together, 40 items were unearthed. Mr. Baptiste leaned over to look at the spread on the table.

“Some of those things are quite valuable,” he said, pointing out a Beatles 45, Matchbox cars and a Kennedy half dollar.

Pictures of the food and clothing of the day, clipped from catalogues, were pasted into folders. Looking at a picture of pork and beans, a young audience member expressed her disgust with a resolute “ew.” Coins were affixed to a piece of card with yellowing pieces of tape. A crisp two dollar bill had a note saying Steven Hopp contributed it to the box.

People snapped photos of the items on their cellphones.

Took many attempts, and several different tools, to open time capsule. — Maria Thibodeau

“There were no cellphones either,” one woman remembered.

Mr. Schilling turned through a yellowed copy of the Gazette.

“They were having phone problems in Chilmark. Not much has changed in 50 years,” he said.

Tom Bardwell said he was kind of surprised at the contents of the box. He was in the B class, which focused more on the plaque, while the A class put together the box.

“I thought they put more in it,” he said.

A new class will have a chance to put together their own box, encapsulating everything that defines 2017. Ms. Ryan said the library plans to work with the Tisbury sixth grade class on that project next fall.

More photos are available on a Facebook page devoted to the time capsule.