1901 Boston time capsule opened

On Thursday, Oct. 9, the Bostonian Society opened a time capsule that had remained sealed for over a century, and archivists were pleasantly surprised by…
1901 Boston time capsule opened

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On Thursday, Oct. 9, the Bostonian Society opened a time capsule that had remained sealed for over a century, and archivists were pleasantly surprised by an unexpected discovery: a red hardcover book.

The “time capsule” is a small copper box, about the size of a modern-day shoebox, that was nestled into the head of lion statue.

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This lion statue sat atop the Old State House in Boston since 1901 until it was taken down last month for refurbishing, leading to the discovery of the hidden box.

The Old State House is one of the most historic buildings in Boston, as it was in front of this building where the Boston Massacre occurred in 1770 and where the Declaration of Independence was read for the first time to the public in 1776.

According to CBS News, an archived article from a 1901 issue of The Boston Globe referenced the mysterious time capsule, saying that the contents of the box “will prove interesting when the box is opened many years hence.”

Sculptor and art restorer Robert Shure, right, uses copper cutters while working with Bostonian Society President Brian LeMay, left, and craftsman George Stratakis, center, to open a sealed copper box removed from a lion statue at a studio, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 in Woburn, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

After the box was carefully removed from the statue, archivists opened the box to find several papers that appeared to be newsprint and a red hardcover book.

“I was expecting a pile of brittle newspapers, so this is a great surprise that it’s in such good condition,” said archivist Elizabeth Roscio. “It’s all packed in there pretty tight.”

Although the contents were fortunately well-preserved, officials say that it is unlikely that the documents and book will be removed immediately, as careful measures are required to keep the contents intact.

Time Capsule Lion Sta_Baid-5

Elizabeth Roscio, archivist at the Old State House Museum, hands at right, helps in displaying the contents of a copper box removed from a lion statue at a studio, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 in Woburn, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

“It will come back to our archives at the Bostonian Society,” Roscio said of the box. “I’ll slowly start the process of removing things and spreading them out, getting an inventory of what’s there, stabilizing the materials by putting them in acid-free folders.”

This means that, for now at least, the contents of the box will remain a mystery.

Although the statue and the box were discovered in Boston, the delicate removal and opening of the copper box took place at a sculpting studio in Woburn, a small Massachusetts suburb.

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