The Bostonian Society made an unusual discovery in Boston Tuesday — a 113-year-old time capsule inside a lion statue on the city’s Old State House.
Conservator Robert Shure detected a copper box the size of a shoebox inside the head of the golden lion statue, and Shure will need a week or so to determine the best way to remove the capsule from within the statue because it was soldered shut, Boston.com reports.
“We didn’t anticipate there would be such reaction to this project,” Brian LeMay, Executive Director and President of the Bostonian Society, told the website. “But it is kind of a hoot that something like this has been hiding in plain sight for a hundred and some odd years.”
In 1882, the Old State House placed wooden lion and unicorn replica statues on the building’s east façade after the originals were torn down and burnt in a symbolic bonfire in 1776. They refurbished them when the wood rotted through by the start of the 20th century.
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An article about the new statues was printed in The Boston Globe in 1901, as well as the coppersmith who sealed the box in the lion’s head.
The Globe reporter wrote:
The work of the coppersmith is completed, and one of the last things he did was to seal a copper box, which is placed in the head of the lion, and which contains contributions from state and city officials, the Boston daily newspapers, the name of the maker of the lion and unicorn, and others, which will prove interesting when the box is opened many years hence.
The Bostonian Society is taking suggestions on what items from the current decade will go inside a new capsule when the lion is restored and put back on top of the Old State House next month. Ideas can be sent to their email or via Twitter using the hashtag #LionandUnicorn.
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The surviving items of the old capsule will go on display at the Old State House museum. Since the contents’ condition is still a mystery, there is no official word on when the items will arrive at the museum, according to The Huntington News.