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Making Time Capsules

Nothing connects you with the past like an item you can hold in your hands, knowing that the last time somebody held it was 100 years ago.  Time capsules created with care are a great way to make that connection. 

Here are some considerations and steps to take when planning and assembling your time capsule.

Choose a retrieval date

When will the time capsule be opened? The longer it is to be sealed, the more difficult it is to choose the items to go into it. 

100 years is a popular choice, though a shorter time, such as 50 years, allows some of the original participants to experience the opening.

Identify a location 

Where will the time capsule be placed during the years it is sealed? Above-ground storage of time capsules is the best option, especially for time capsules with a specific retrieval date. Time capsules can be stored in secure viewing cases in public areas of buildings; they don’t have to be hidden away. 

If you want a specific retrieval date for the time capsule, do not encase it in a cornerstone of a building. You can only retrieve a cornerstone time capsule when the building is destroyed or undergoes a major overhaul. 

Avoid burying a time capsule, as many buried time capsules have been lost due to their location being forgotten, changes in geography, or community redevelopment efforts. Burial can also damage the container and ruin its contents due to crushing or leakage. The best burial method is in a concrete or brick vault lined with fiberglass insulation. The vault must drain well and should be marked above-ground with a descriptive plaque so it is not lost or forgotten.

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