Time Capsule Disappointment

The 50-year-old city time capsule was opened today, Hawes Spencer writes for The Hook, in front of an audience of hundreds. It was…soggy. The ostensibly waterproof capsule turned out to be anything but, with its contents reduced to mush after its tar seal broke down over time. No word on whether its more interesting contents (especially the letters people wrote and placed in there) are salvageable. You might recall that the city had a heck of a time finding the time capsule, but managed thanks to one man’s film of its burial.

A new time capsule will be buried late this year. Any more ideas about what could go in there?

13 Responses to “Time Capsule Disappointment”


  • Lots and lots of DampRid.

  • Another vote for Huja.

  • Here’s five suggestions…

    · A bill and coin with Jefferson’s counterfeit likeness

    · An intact bootleg version of the Beatles White Album

    · Any compact disc of Lil’ Kim easy listening Hip-Hop

    · The list of top ten 2012 salaried garners inside Charlottesville City hall

    · One pair of lycra-spandex bicycle shorts off a Bike Charlottesville member

  • The plans for the MeadowCreek Parkway, which will stil be unbuilt in 50 years and above all, Ziploc bags.

  • No more gimmickry. Instead, donate significant funds to the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. That entire institution is a “time capsule” and they strive to keep documents dry.

  • During the opening on Sunday, one of the presenters held up a damaged 1962 Jefferson plate, freshly removed from the capsule, and asked the audience if anyone had had one of these at home. To my surprise, several people raised their hands to indicate that they did.

    This stuck me as very odd. How could it be that the “capsule”, an object specifically designed to preserve the past, did a poorer job of doing so than the attics and basements of local residents?

    Bill Emory is absolutely correct in his suggestion that the ACHS can do a better job of preserving the past than a metal box buried next to a court house.

    So here’s what I suggest. If we must have a time capsule, make it out of fine wood, not steel, and put it on display at the ACHS for the next 50 years. For half a century, people can look at it, touch it, and wonder about its contents. Then, in 2062, those that follow us will get to enjoy a wonderful, dry, pristine account of life in 2012.

  • When a container and its intended use are both distinctly gimmicks, doesn’t anything placed in said container become a gimmick? Gimmick by proxy? Does that gimmickry glamour last only while said object is in its gimmicky confines, or is it forever tainted with the sheen of gimmickry even once removed? Once the gimmicky container is sealed, are the objects inside gimmicky or not? How could you tell? Perhaps they exist in a sort of quantum superpositional state of gimmickry – kind of a Shrodinger’s Gimmick, if you will?

    I just have so many questions, Bill. Also: “significant funds”? Im pretty sure if the endeavor involves something elementary classes do regularly, it doesn’t involve significant funds.

  • I’m pretty sure that the Colonel Saunders’ Bowtie that was pulled out was a distinctly intended gimmick. Humor unappreciated there.

  • I was there and heard the sad groans of the crowd as the soggy Daily Progress was pulled out of the time capsule. I don’t think it’s a gimmick. Even though the contents were ruined, the fact that our civilization survived the past fifty years is something to commemorate. I do hope the next time capsule can be better preserved because I think there is something amazing about sending an archive into the future.

    I do like the idea of displaying it above ground, though.

  • I would suggest zip lock bags.

  • I’ve been doing some reading about time capsules. It’s an interesting subject on several levels.

    One thing I learned is that, surprisingly, plastic is not a guarantee of dryness. Apparently, water can, at the molecular level, work it’s way through plastic given enough time.

    I have yet to find a single account of a capsule that came out of the ground in pristine condition.

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