For centuries, time capsules have illustrated our fascination with the past and our desire to preserve the present.  They epitomize the meaning of nostalgia, which is defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as “the sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.”  

    According to LeMoyne College psychology professor, Krystine Batcho, time capsules tap into our deep-rooted sense of nostalgia.  Batcho says, “A time capsule symbolizes the desire to defy the reality of the passing of time, inevitable change, and the impossibility of immortality.” She adds, “Preserving what we feel represents us is a way of passing on our legacy to future generations.”

     Time capsules have been the vessels for families, towns, businesses, schools and municipalities to connect with each other now and with people who will live beyond our lifetime. Historic eras, such as the recent coronavirus pandemic, directly relate to our drive - and need - to tell our stories to generations to come. According to Adrienne Waterman, chairwoman of the International Time Capsule Society, the number of time capsules created since the start of the pandemic was equal to the number generated over the last 350 years.  Batcho says, “By remembering our past, nostalgia softens the stress of coping with change and strengthens our sense of being in control.” She says, “Archiving the best of who we are in a time capsule is a concrete way of defeating mortality, as part of us will remain even in a distant future.”

    With the amount of time capsules skyrocketing in 2021 during, and after the pandemic, the registry of the International Time Capsule Society estimates there are between 10,000-15,000 known time capsules worldwide.  



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