J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lion and Unicorn Returning to Boston, 23 Nov.

On Sunday, 23 November, the figures of the lion and unicorn will be reinstalled at the Old State House in Boston.

The lion has been regilded, and the unicorn repalladianized, making them shinier than they’ve been in years and probably far shinier than the original statues looked in colonial times. The balcony below them has had major repairs, as had the building’s west façade.

Aa was widely reported this fall, the lion’s head contained a time capsule from 1901. The conservator placed a new time capsule into the gilded scroll that the lion statue stands on, to be more easily accessible to people in another century.

Like the 1901 time capsule, the new box contains material reflecting this moment: today’s mayor and other officials, today’s fads, &c. But it also includes “Two 18th-century hand-wrought nails removed from the Old State House tower in 2008,” and a “Fragment of a 1713 brick removed from Old State House during the 2014 west façade restoration project.”

At 10:00 A.M. the statues are due to be unveiled at street level on the “Boston Massacre Plaza” beside the building. That will probably be the best time for many years to get a close-up look at them. Then they’ll be hoisted up to the roof with a crane.

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