Apr 15, 2022

(+) Save Something for Future Generations: Create a Time Capsule

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

According to the International Time Capsule Society at, “A time capsule is ‘a container used to store for posterity a selection of objects thought to be representative of life at a particular time.’ Time capsules are interesting to people of all ages and touch people on a world-wide scale. Properly prepared time capsules preserve the salient features of history and can serve as valuable reminders of one generation for another.”

Time capsules often are created by historical societies or other organizations who wish to preserve a “snapshot” of life today. However, creation of time capsules certainly is not limited to historical organizations. You might use a time capsule to mark a special anniversary, whether your tenth wedding anniversary, your baby’s first birthday, or your home town’s centennial or sesquicentennial celebration. Then again, you may just want a time capsule for fun or for a temporary learning project.

I know of one fifth grade class that made a time capsule containing information written by each member of the class. Each student wrote a note to their future selves, making some predictions of what the world and he or she will be like in the future. The school department promised to open the time capsule at the end of each high school graduating class and to send a copy of each note to the student who wrote it. Apparently, the school department repeats this project every year with all of its fifth grade classes.

Similarly, a private individual or a family also might want to create a time capsule to be opened by future generations. What better gift for a genealogist to leave for his or her descendants than mementos of life in the early twenty-first century? Then again, perhaps you want to bury something of value in your own back yard in hopes of retrieving it some time in the future when you need the item. Gold coins or a family heirloom pop to mind.

If this sounds like a fun project with very long-term rewards, read on for some ideas about how to create your own time capsule, what you might want to put in it, and – just as important – what NOT to put in it.

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