Time Capsule Content Ideas

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Time Capsule Content Ideas: Young Family Selects a Time Capsule Site.

Many people arrive at this page after searching for “Time Capsule Ideas” or “Time Capsule Contents”…

…without realizing that this site demonstrates how to create a wilderness adventure out of a simple Time Capsule.

So if you landed here wondering what this is all about, you might want to learn more about our Wilderness Time Capsule Adventure from the beginning.

Time Capsule content ideas are hard to come by for some people. So here we include a few possibilities.

Time Capsule Size:

A smaller screw-top stainless vacuum jar or thermos or polyethylene container may be used for a shorter period and protected from extreme weather. But if there is plastic or rubber involved in such a time capsule, the time period of your placement and the weather environment needs to be considered. That’s why we recommend a larger stainless time capsule tube that holds 64 oz. (two quarts). Stainless or polyethylene is oblivious to weather extremes and can last for decades. Links to retailers of these capsules are found here. (We don’t sell anything on this site.)

What NOT to include:

Make certain your time capsule never contains any liquids, food products, matches, or explosives. Some items with a discernible odor can attract wildlife. (For a complete list, see our References page for What NOT to Include.) Above all, seal and place your capsule where it cannot be invaded by water.

Previous Time Capsule Content ideas.

Content Ideas:

You might insert a few small semi-valuable items that could boost motivation to start the journey. And you may want to include minor…but not monetarily valuable… pieces of family memorabilia—certainly notes of personal interest or letters with recollections of your intended family member. If your time capsule is for kids or grand-kids, you can include a few photo prints that they have never seen. Or try special objects that their parents, relatives, or childhood friends have given for inclusion. If you are adept at the computer, copy your family video, photos, or document scans to a thumb drive or DVD – or both –  and place them inside the capsule. 

You’ll find a link to an interesting document on our time capsule References page. It’s a website that will neatly insert your own life events within the decades of other historical events. There are many other different ways this document can be used to create benchmarks of time. This is a perfect insert for your time capsule!

Remember that every organic article (documents, photo prints, cloth, newsprint,  etc.) should be placed inside an unsealed protective polyethylene baggie to help with preservation. See the  Protecting Your Time Capsule Items section.

Risk Assessment:

You can eliminate most environmental perils by reviewing two checklists included on our FAST TRACK page.  The checklists are entitled Before You Leave Your House and Before You Leave Your Drop Site. 

This is an adventure of some risk, but the risk can be minimized with your own intelligent planning and secure preparation. If you can complete all our checklists, your chances of guaranteeing a successful time capsule adventure for your future family are excellent.

Trigger Ideas:

Here are more small items that may prompt you to think of your own list. All were actually enclosed in previous time capsules, and all were preserved in (purposely unsealed) polyethylene freezer bags.

Organic Items:

  • Psychic predictions for the future
  • Written comments on the news of the day
  • Some school test papers to be reviewed years hence
  • A crisp $2 bill
  • Never before seen personal photos
  • Single newspaper page of the day
  • Personal notes
  • Future greetings from family members and childhood friends
  • A full or partial diary
  • Pages from a shopping catalog
  • TV Guide
  • Grocery receipts
  • Pages showing the Year in Pictures

Non-Organic Items:

  • A (non-valuable) family heirloom
  • A concrete chink from the Berlin Wall
  • Small ceramic or metallic items (like earrings or coins) donated by parents, great-grandparents, and family friends
  • US Flag lapel pins, political pins of the era
  • Hiking stick medallions from various National Parks
  • Skipping rocks (labeled with origin)
  • Small items retrieved from desk and dresser drawers
  • Susan B. Anthony and Sacajawea U.S. dollar coins
  • Commemorative medallions
  • Old driver’s licenses with pictures
  • U.S. Mint Coin set

If there is space, you may also include tiny toys, outdated electronic pieces, or other typical items for the current decade. Thumb drives or DVD disks may preserve more. Many items would be of literally no interest to anybody, except for the few individuals who may remember them when they are older. Can these small treasures survive up to a few decades unscathed and undisturbed? Well, metallic and ceramic items will preserve with little risk. Non-metallic items have a higher risk of deterioration. And yes, some things may not endure as well as others. But that will be part of the mystery… and part of the adventure. For certain, there will be historical curiosity in rediscovering the cache.

Always, the greatest message for your descendants will be that their friends, parents, or grandparents cared enough to remain a part of their lives in a small way.

Want preservation tips? Yes, you do. See our next page.

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Next Page: Protecting Your Time Capsule Items

For a free download of the Time Capsule Adventure process and supporting documents, see our Download Info page.

Time Capsule Content Ideas: A stop along the Time Capsule Adventure Trail is also a great idea!