Future Thinking Time Capsule Tips You Must Know
1 – Know what it is you’re doing
Defined, a time capsule is a container that holds records or objects to show today’s culture. But it’s more than that. People put the items inside the time capsule, seal it, and then they deposit it in a special place. Where? It can be inside of a building’s cornerstone or walls, underground, or simply on a shelf inside a building. Even for a groundbreaking time capsule event, you have a choice of placement. Do some ‘future thinking.’ Those who place time capsules plan someday for either themselves or someone else to open it once again to remember and to ponder the contents.
This could be any set time period. Popular timing goes 10, 25, 50, or 100 years or more in the future. Future thinking: it is meaningful: sesquicentennial celebrants will choose 150 to match the year of celebration, or simply 50 so that the capsule can be opened at the bicentennial. Essentially, any time capsule is a snapshot of today as well as a gift for the future. By the way, the phrase Time Capsule was first used for the 1939 New York World’s Fair Time Capsule of Cupaloy.
2 – Know why you are doing it!
If you’ve never done a time capsule before, consider the reason or reasons you wish to do one. Do some more future thinking! What is the time capsule’s purpose? For instance, a city celebrating a centennial may wish to place a time capsule to be opened during its sesquicentennial or bicentennial celebration. An inaugural city may wish to place one to be opened on its 25th anniversary. If for a baby, the time capsule may be opened on his 21st birthday or other special occasion of the family’s choosing (such as a wedding). Think about it now. A classroom time capsule may be placed in September and opened in May for a lesson plan. A teacher may place a time capsule for the class to come back and open when they ‘graduate’ elementary school. What are you celebrating or commemorating? Future thinkers know why they want to place the time capsule.
3 – Know who you’re doing the time capsule for & plan for them to open it
Your boss has assigned you to spearhead the time capsule project for the company (or city, or county, or group). Does that mean you’re doing the time capsule for him? Maybe it does, in a way, but you must go broader than that! Future thinking: Who’s the time capsule for? In the example of a company, the firm has reached its 10th year in business. With just 1/3 of businesses surviving 10 years or more, what’s the likelihood of your company’s employees being there in another 10? 20? 40? 100?
So the timing of the time capsule’s opening is important, too, if one of the criteria of ‘who it’s for’ is ‘who will open it up?’. Indeed, who will be around to remember it (and where it was placed).
In the case of a classroom or graduating class, it’s simpler. In the first grade class, the teacher gathers items at the beginning of the year in September with the intention of opening the ‘capsule’ in June before summer break. Another classroom example has 5th graders placing a time capsule to be opened a their high school graduation. Yet another has the students placing a capsule at their graduation and opening it in 10 years at their 10th reunion party. Over the years, though, placement can be lost if it does not have a marked placement. Use an outdoor quality plaque to mark the placement.
A church in Texas buried their time capsule and they assigned one of the congregation’s children to be responsible for remembering it. See photo in this article, of Landon Davis of Memorial Presbyterian Church. You want someone to remember where it’s placed and when to open it in the future.
4 - Mark the placement with an outdoor quality plaque
Don't be so secretive about your time capsule that you don't let the community know where you placed it. Place it securely so that it's not easily vandalized, but don't be overly secretive or it will be lost in the future. The simplest way to make sure of remembrance is to place a memorial outdoor aluminum or bronze plaque.