Forgotten time capsules and something to ponder

Yesterday I penned an article about a forgotten time capsule that was unearthed at MIT. It was buried in 1957 and left with instructions to leave it unopened for 1,000 years.

Not your typical time capsule for sure.

Most time capsules contain directions specifying that the container be opened in 50 or 75 years, so that a living witness could be present when it is unearthed and reopened. But not this one.

The capsule was buried by MIT President James R. Killian Jr. and professor of electrical engineering Harold “Doc” Edgerton in the spring of 1957, five days before the dedication of Compton Laboratories. Apparently the spring of 1957 was a moment of great optimism at MIT.

“Remember that this was just four months prior to the launch of Sputnik and the start of the ‘Space Race’ with the Soviet Union. MIT researchers were focused on developing the technologies of the future and they were excited about the completion of the Compton Laboratories,” said Deborah Douglas, director of collections for the MIT Museum. “The new building was to serve as the home of the Research Laboratory of Electronics [RLE], the Laboratory for Nuclear Science, and the Computation Center, and was to house a new IBM 704 mainframe computer. Students and researchers would be able to come to the building with their punch cards to run their studies.”

All this intrigue got me to thinking. If you were to create one today for, let’s say 100 years from now, what would you put in it? With everything going digital these days, would your time capsule be all-digital?

Personally, I’m leaning towards tangible things. Words on paper, drawings, photographs, messages of love from a time gone by. But that’s just me.

Love, Lola


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