Time capsules are a fun way for kids, or anyone, to leave something by which future generations can remember us. They’re also great for digging up later to enjoy yourselves. Most people bury time capsules at the beginning of a particular year but you can bury one anytime.
Where you bury the time capsule is up to you but it needs to be somewhere safe. Don’t let very many people in on the secret – you won’t be happy if you go to dig it up and someone already has. Great places for burying one is in your own backyard or that of a friend or neighbor, in the woods, under poured concrete or other secret locations. Make sure that you own the land or have permission to bury your capsule there.
The container for the time capsule can be big or small. Plastic tubs with lids that have been sealed, PVC pipe at least 6″ in diameter, or other containers of plastic, metal or rubber, make the best containers. A 55 gallon drum is another suitable container. The time capsule can also be a series of containers, buried in the same location.
The best way to prepare for making a time capsule is to make a list of items you’d like to preserve. Doing this over a period of months will assure that you don’t overlook something you’d really like to add. Jot things down on the list, as you think of them, then when you think you have listed as many items as the container will hold, it’s time to start filling it.
There are millions of choices for things to put in the time capsule. Think of things that are unique to the era or time period such as best-selling books, toys, newspapers, magazines, event ticket stubs or reviews, money with current and old dates, cartoon strips, a picture of the president and his family, popular clothing, shoes or fashion magazines, grocery ads, fast food ads and other memorabilia.
Try to think of different categories then choose items from each group. Choose something of a scientific nature, something literary, a piece of artwork, something worldly and so on. Also, try to think of all the people and other living things in the world, then choose specifics, such as “boys”, “girls”, “moms”, “women”, “dads”, “men” and even “animals”. Add something in the capsule for each specific group.
Don’t forget to leave something in the capsule that you’ve made, drawn, or created in some way. Each person should contribute something of a personal nature which will be a real treasure upon the opening of the capsule. Also leave things reminiscent of your home town, state, country, the line of business you’re in, as well as foreign objects, if possible
If you’re making a huge time capsule you’ll have plenty of room to put actual objects in but if you haven’t got much storage room, go with pictures and descriptions when possible. You can print out descriptions and pictures of many different things in today’s world, with your home printer.
When burying the capsule keep in mind that it’s likely to be extremely heavy so consider packing it in the hole where it will be buried. Depending upon what it’s packed in, seal well with wax, silicone caulking or even metal clamps. Bury the capsule at least four feet underground, if possible. If you have no place to bury the capsule you can always store it in your basement or attic for 20 years or so leaving instructions, printed on the exterior, as to when it can be opened.
Entrust someone with the information, such as a preacher, younger family member, or even a foreign friend. Make sure you leave a detailed map for that person along with instructions on when the capsule should be opened and to whom the contents should belong after opening. Should you decide to leave the capsule for a younger generation in your family you can leave the map and instructions in a safe deposit box or the bottom of your desk drawer. Upon your departure from this life the desk drawer or safe deposit box instructions will be “stumbled upon”.
A letter should be included in the time capsule listing your names, where you live, why you chose the particular burial spot, a brief history of your life and times during the time period of the burial, and an explanation of some of the contents. It’s a good idea to make a list that is numbered, explaining what each item is, then have a sticker or tag, with the corresponding number, attached to each item.
Time capsules are a unique way to leave antiques for your children or grandchildren, a history of your life, or just remembrances that will make your children smile as they view the objects and read about them sometime in the future.