Have you thought about making a family time capsule? This is the perfect time to do it.
We’re experiencing a unique time in history. Whether we go back to normal, or onto a “new normal,” there’s a clear demarcation between now and how things used to be.
Things that were totally normal a few months ago–greeting a friend with a hug, shaking the hand of a business colleague, being together in a crowd–now seem like relics from a different time. Maybe the way things are now will pass relatively quickly, and we’ll look back at this time as a short, strange interlude.
Or maybe things won’t completely go back to how they were and we’ll fondly remember the way things “used to be.”
Capture this moment in history by preserving your thoughts, pictures, and artifacts in a time capsule.
Tips for a Time Capsule
Do not bury it outside
This is the single biggest problem with time capsules. Very few survive the elements. Many have been opened with great ceremony, only to reveal contents ruined by moisture. In addition, many are never found.
Choose a secure container
If you are going to keep the time capsule inside, it doesn’t really matter that much what kind of container you use. A safe is a good choice, but don’t separate the keys from the safe, because they might get lost. We will include links to some time capsule containers you can buy online, but that is not strictly necessary. You probably have something around the house that will work just fine (as long as you keep it inside.) But make sure to close it securely so that it’s not too easy to open it. Maybe wrap it in duct tape?
Tell people about the time capsule
Make sure that family members, especially younger family members, know about it.
Decide where to keep it
If you choose an attractive container, you could display it in your home. But an argument could be made for keeping it out of sight, so that you don’t keep remembering what you put it there, and aren’t tempted to peek. Maybe in a closet, as long as it’s climate controlled, and as long as someone can remember that it’s there. Whatever you do, don’t move and leave it behind!
Specify a time to open it
If you really want it to be for future generations, choose a year that reflects that. But if you would like to be around to open it, there’s nothing wrong with planning on a shorter time period.
What to Put in a Time Capsule
If you could talk to a member of a previous generation and ask them anything, what would it be? Use that as a guide. Here are some ideas. Some apply to typical times, but some are especially appropriate right now.
Write a letter
Have every family member write a sealed letter about what life is like now, and what they hope for the future. What are they doing at home? What are their fears? What do they miss right now? What do they look forward to doing?
Draw a map
Draw a map of your neighborhood. For each house, write the names of the people who live there, and what your interactions with that person are like.
Have you been baking during this time at home? Save your recipes for posterity!
Locks of hair
Include a lock of hair from your child, yourself, or your pets. Put each in a plastic bag and label it.
Include newspaper clippings, or printouts from news sites, about what’s going on now.
Artifacts specific to right now
Gloves, and empty hand sanitizer, or a roll of toilet paper (if you can spare it), along with an explanation of why you’ve included these items, will be interesting to future family members.
The more the better! Include pictures of family members and friends, your car, your home. Include a picture of your family wearing face masks.
Include your children’s schoolwork. Especially if you’ve been teaching them at home lately!
Floor plan of your home
This doesn’t need to be professional. You can draw it yourself. It doesn’t have to be to scale.
Empty food packaging
Include an empty (clean) food package, from your favorite candy bar or an empty Coke can.
Include a grocery receipt so that the next generation can see what kind of food you were buying and what it cost.
Go to the website of your favorite restaurant and print out the menu.
Predictions of the future
Have every family member write down their guess of what the future will be like on the date set for opening the time capsule. This can be personal predictions for family members, or more general predictions for the world.
Print out instructions for making a mask, whether a no-sew or sew kind.
What you binged on
TV shows, that is. Write down a list of all the TV shows you binged on together during this time.