As Americans mark a year of navigating the coronavirus pandemic, forward-thinking historians across the country are working to make 2020 a year to remember by filling time capsules with items we'd like to forget. The Washington Post's Maura Judkis interviewed Heritage Time Capsules co-founder, Laura Ryan about why people would want to remember this crazy, stressful and heartbreaking time. Ryan says, "It's not that we want to remember wearing disposable masks everywhere, or combing store aisles for hand sanitizer and the elusive toilet paper." She says, "It's more about saving examples of these essential items inside a time capsule to help tell future generations an unbelievable story of our lives in 2020."
Judkis says that people from all walks of life, from all corners of the country, have gotten in on the act of creating time capsules filled with our COVID-era obsessions. She says that time capsules have been secured in Nampa City Hall in Nampa, Idaho, at a southeastern Pennsylvania nursing home, at a charter school in Draper, Utah, at a church in North Port, Florida with a vow that they will not be opened for 25 to 100 years. Judkis reports that the International Time Capsule Society, which maintains a world-wide registry for capsules, has recorded thousands of new time capsules created during the pandemic — “An increase of at least tenfold, if not many more,” says society co-founder Adrienne Waterman. “They’re pouring in.”
Time capsules have helped cope with COVID in other ways too. Heritage Time Capsules has sold their stainless steel boxes and small caplets to high schools that had to cancel their graduation ceremonies in 2020. Laura Ryan says each student filled a small caplet that will be stored together at the school until they can be opened at a future class reunion. She says, "This gives kids a little closure to their senior year and a proper celebration for the end of high school that they couldn’t have otherwise.”