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Brian Burns ’16 on Being Included In The Next State House Time Capsule

In a hundred years, the savage mosaic of the internet will be triumphantly sewn back together, despite efforts more than a century previous by Comcast and Kim Kardashian to break the World Wide Web forever. Boston’s municipal government will reveal the contents of the Old (future Citibank) State House time capsule, where a letter written by internationally lauded author and journalist Brian Burns 16’ will be discovered about the year everything happened.

This is at least partially certain. Brian was asked by the Bostonian Society, commissioners of the former time capsule in the lion statue guarding the Old State House, to contribute a letter for the next iteration and reveal. He’s one of three regional journalists to have been awarded with the immortal opportunity, and in an e-mail he discussed how it happened and what his experience has been like.

PR: Can you describe a little background of your internship?

BB: I’m interning right now at which is basically the online, scrappy little brother of the Boston Globe. It’s headquartered in the same Dorchester building as the Globe so it’s fun and Devil Wears Prada-esque to get to walk through those doors. I started the first week in September and I’m there on the weekends. I’m a part of the writing staff so I contribute a few articles a week about anything, really. I’ve covered student assaults at nearby universities, ebola, Uber drivers in hot pursuit of revenge. In an arguable conflict of interest, I wrote about the smoking ban on Emmanuel’s campus. Oops. And, of course, the removal of the time capsule from the Old State House last month.

PR: You said that you were working on a story about the time capsule after its discovery. What was that like? What did the newsroom look like when information was coming in?

BB: More or less immediately after I started working at, I started hearing about the removal and renovation of the lion and unicorn statues from the top of the Old State House. And with that came this renewed interest in these rumors about a time capsule inside the lion’s head. The Bostonian Society believed it to be in there, citing these letters from a contractor who was working and living in Boston at the turn of the last century. The Freedom Trail Foundation wasn’t as convinced. So, I offered to go to the Old State House on the morning that the statues were coming down to take some photos and cover the story.

PR: What was the conversation between you and the Boston Historical Society like?

BB: While freezing my ass off at the Old State House that morning, I met Heather Leet, the director of development at the Bostonian Society. I interviewed her about what the next steps were for the potential discovery and removal of the time capsule inside the lion. She was really friendly with me and I corresponded with her via email a few times after the fact for different stories I was working on about the time capsule.

PR: Where were you when you received the news? What did that feel like?!

BB: So, the statues were removed on September 14th. A week or so later, the statues were inspected at the studio in Woburn and, eureka, there was a time capsule inside. In addition to a few other things was this letter to posterity written by a journalist of the time. Which turned out to just be an empty envelope. Trolls. But Heather Leet sent an email last week to two actual journalists and me requesting that we write letters to be included in the new time capsule that will be placed inside the renovated lion statue. I think I was somewhere at school when I read this email and just had to laugh. It’s probably one of the stranger things that’s happened to me in life. I guess I’m, like, a little speck in Boston’s history now which is just hilarious to me. I’m sure I have some colleagues at who are a little pissed that a lowly intern is the one who got the opportunity to write the letter. Oh well.

PR: Maybe I shouldn’t ask you to spoil it for us but can you give the readers a tease about what you wrote about? Looking forward to cracking it open in 2114.

BB: It’s a relatively short letter, just a little longer than two pages. Typed. I was going to handwrite it but figured I should stay true to the times. I talk about some trivial 2014 things that history may deem unworthy of remembering. Tom Brady and Gisele putting the finishing touches on their palace in Brookline. The cost of riding the T. Ebola. Sallie “Satan” Mae. And then I go into my predictions for 2114. Culture, politics, sex. The list goes on. I took it seriously without taking it too seriously. There’s a sense of humor to it. Or so I hope. I don’t know how well of a representative for Millennials I’ll be for the people of 2114. Sorry, kids.

PR: Are you excited for your artifact to be received by the people of Boston someday? Your future grandchildren?!

BB: I did the math and I think it’s, like, my great-grandchildren who would be the ones alive to see the removal of this time capsule. I’ve never had any desire to have kids but I feel, like, borderline obligated now. My mom has the Bostonian Society to thank for that.

Paul Rowley is a staff writer and regular columnist for The Hub. E-mail him at and follow him on Twitter @almanacalism

Posted by on November 13, 2014. Filed under Around Campus,Around the Hub. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to Brian Burns ’16 on Being Included In The Next State House Time Capsule

  1. Paul Rowley

    December 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Reblogged this on Almanacalism .