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Virginia hopes to remove time capsule along with Lee statue

If the capsule is removed, Governor Northam announced it will be replaced with artifacts that represent Virginia today.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Monday June 8, 2020 file photo a crew from the Virginia Department of General Services inspect the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. If a court clears the way for the state of Virginia to take down one of the country's most prominent Confederate statues, contractors will also be removing something else from the enormous monument: a 134-year-old time capsule rumored to contain a valuable and historically significant photo of deceased President Abraham Lincoln. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. — If a court clears the way, the state of Virginia will not just remove a soaring statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the city of Richmond's famed Monument Avenue. 

It will also excavate a little-known piece of history from inside the massive monument's base: a 134-year-old copper time capsule. 

Historical records and recent imaging tests suggest the capsule's presence. 

Some have speculated that it contains a rare, valuable and historically significant photo of a deceased President Abraham Lincoln. 

The carefully planned removal project is contingent on the resolution of two still pending lawsuits.

Following the removal of the capsule, there are plans to replace it with a new capsule filled with artifacts that represent Virginia today.

Governor Northam said, "It’s time to say to the world, this is today’s Virginia, not yesterday’s. And one day, when future generations look back at this moment, they will be able to learn about the inclusive, welcoming Commonwealth that we are building together. I encourage Virginians to be part of this unique effort to tell our shared story.”

Virginians even have the chance to put one of their own artifacts in the capsule. All you have to do is submit a description of the artifact, the size and material of the item, and an explanation of how it represents Virginia. 

Submissions can be done here.