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Time Capsules: Importance and How To Create One

If you are a lover of fiction or mystical movies, you must have seen or read about time capsules at some point. You know, those materials that stay buried for a while before someone has to find them 1000 years later. 

This article covers all you need to know about time capsules. What they are, how to build one, and what you can put in it. 

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What Are Time Capsules? 

A time capsule is typically a container that contains something you want to preserve for the next few years. 

For thousands of years, many have used them to preserve pieces of the present for the future. 

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History of Time Capsules 

The phrase “time capsule” was first used in 1937 while a container was being readied for burial in preparation for the New York World’s Fair in 1939. 

The idea, though, dates back far further. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was written between 2100–1200 BC and is considered to be the world’s first literary composition, the first chapter of the book contains directions for locating a chest of copper hidden inside the enormous walls of Uruk’s foundation stone. Gilamesh’s stories were contained in the box. 

In light of this, the concept of burying a message in a time capsule that will be opened thousands of years from now is not new.

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Famous Time Capsules

The Safe Side: 1876–1976

The concept came from a woman by the name of Anna Deihm, publisher of the Our Second Century weekly, who also put the materials together in a fireproof cabinet. Ulysses S. Grant, the then President of America, attended the formal closing.

The case was kept at the US Capitol and scheduled to be opened in 1976 for the country’s bicentennial.

Time Capsules

The Century Safe was inaugurated in front of members of Congress and President Gerald Ford. A scroll bearing the signatures of 44th Congressmen, an album containing the signatures of other notable men, a gold pen belonging to poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and images taken by Matthew Brady were found in it.

Diehm’s idea of a preservation safe paved the stage for later vaults and the nationwide time capsule mania.

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Robert E Lee statue

A time capsule was discovered in Richmond, Virginia, beside the Robert E. Lee statue in 2021. The box had a height of 7.5 inches and a length of 13.5 inches, and contained a Bible, a few books, some cash, and copper coins.

Time Capsules

This is the second time a copper box-shaped time capsule has been discovered underneath the pedestal. The first capsule contained two books, a coin, and a fabric envelope.

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How To Create Your Own Time Capsule

To create a really good time capsule, you need to think of something important to send to the future. It could be a letter to your future self or kids or information about something you think will be important for the next generation to know.

It could even be your will. 

time capsule

You could also use not-so-serious things like old family photos, a family recipe, or the Ankara from your grandmother’s burial. 

The point is to ensure it is something the future will find interesting. 

There are 2 ways to do this: the physical way, which is the original version, and the digital way which just makes sense as the world is now more digital. 

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1. Creating a physical capsule

time capsule

2. Choose a good container

The entire point is to preserve something, so it would make no sense to put it in something that is not strong, right? 

So find a good strong container, depending on the size of your material. Ensure it’s something that can protect your material from dust, insects, rust, or anything else that might damage it. 

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3. Find a good location

The next step would be to find a good location to keep it for the next few years. You want a place that is accessible to your target audience. It should also be safe and able to accommodate your time capsule. 

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4. Hide it away

Once you find your location, the next thing you want to do is hide it. It is advisable to keep the box somewhere away from direct sunlight, dampness, and pests.

5. Creating a digital time capsule 

time capsule

Creating a digital time capsule is not as tasking as creating a physical one, but it’s also quite exciting to look forward to. 

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6. Make your time capsule using cloud storage

Dropbox offers cloud storage so you can safely keep all of your digital time capsule data in one location. They are available to you whenever and wherever you need them.

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7. Decide when you want to view it

Half the time, your digital time capsule is automated. For example, if you write a letter to your child for a future date and schedule it on Gmail, the child gets the letter at the said date and time because you scheduled it. 

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In conclusion

Time capsules are very thoughtful ways of preserving memories and moments for the future to see. 

Think about it like this; you are keeping cherished parts of your life and time for your future generation to see.