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What Goes in Our 2015 Time Capsule?

time capsuleWhat were Paul Revere and Sam Adams thinking 220 years ago when they packed a time capsule that would sit beneath the new Massachusetts State House?

What clues about their state of mind should we take away from the newspapers, coins and other trinkets they placed in the little box?

In 1795, the U.S. was still a teenager struggling on many fronts. It would be nice to think Revere, Adams and William Scollay, a colonel in the Revolutionary War, made choices they felt represented hope, confidence and solidarity.

Peer 220 years into the future. What would we want the people of 2234 to know about us? What should they know?

What would we put in a time capsule today?

I posed the question to my Facebook community and got answers ranging from smart phones and tablets to running shoes and carbon fiber bikes. One person asked that we exclude any photos of Kim Kardashian. Another wanted to insert a necktie, plus his wish that they be banned in the future. Several wanted current newspapers, literature and movies. One suggested “all of Breaking Bad.”

And one more other offered suggestions based on categories from Trivial Pursuit. As in: “Geography: a car GPS; Entertainment: an iPod; History: the New York Times on 9/11; Arts and Literature: a Kindle; Science and Nature: a microprocessor; Sports and Leisure: Sports Illustrated with the 1980 U.S. Olympic team beating the Soviet Union on the cover.”

I also got: yoga pants, Red Bull, a Starbucks cup, a video game console, a graphing calculator, skinny jeans, and news articles about the day’s top stories.

Great ideas and all signs of our time, but the portrait is incomplete.

The day after the Boston time capsule was unveiled, shocking news arrived from Paris about the massacre at a French satirical newspaper office. Given the prevalence of violence in so many other nations as well, the 2015 time capsule must also include a bullet and a journalist’s notebook.

What else? Perhaps:

  • A protective mask worn by healthcare workers who treat Ebola patients
  • A hands-up, don’t shoot poster and a police officer’s badge
  • A beaker of water that was once ice on a glacier
  • A list of salaries for teachers, pro athletes and CEOs
  • A drone, or at least its joystick
  • A map of the world that shows how many live in severe poverty
  • A faulty ignition switch
  • A chart that shows where we still must deliver Internet access
  • A poll on Congress’ latest approval rating, plus one for the president
  • A 2015 global economic forecast
  • A diagram of the Keystone XL oil pipeline
  • A real interview with Bill Cosby
  • A wedding license that unites a gay couple
  • A NASA photo from deep space

All of this will require a capsule larger than the one they dug up from Boston Commons. That’s okay. The world’s bigger and more complicated than in Paul Revere’s day. In fact, there’s more room in our capsule. Can you think of anything we’ve left out? Maybe a note trying to make sense of it all …

Link: Boston Globe account (including video) of time capsule opening:

Read more posts by Steve Piacente, a former print journalist and correspondent. is created by National Publicity Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book marketing strategies to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major top city radio talk shows that broadcast to the heart of the market, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers.

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6 Responses to "What Goes in Our 2015 Time Capsule?"

  1. Zanna Shirmana says:

    I enjoyed reading your article so much, I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ve pondered about what we could put in “our” time capsule. How could we convey to future Americans (if America still exists in 200+ years) the meth problem we have today? Certainly, we couldn’t throw some meth into the capsule. Well, maybe we could, but that wouldn’t be a good idea.

    A few days ago, I stumbled across a “game,” shall we say, in which there were before and after pictures of various meth addicts. In order to “play,” I had to correctly match up the “before meth” picture of a person with the “after meth” picture of that same person. Some of the pictures were just shocking! Then, after we’ve matched the two pictures, we then have to figure out how long it took for each person to transform. For some, it was only a matter of months. That would be something I’d want to put in the capsule.

  2. Steve Piacente says:

    Thanks for joining the convo, Zanna. Meth and all drug abuse certainly (and unfortunately) a sign of the times. I think that’s why someone else suggested all of Breaking Bad. The game you mentioned – fascinating…

  3. Kathleen says:

    2015 just started so I am not sure that I would want to make a final decision right now. But, that said, my early choices for including in a 2015 time capsule would be: an iPhone 6Plus with a charger (doubtful any battery charge will be left after 200+ years in a time capsule); the new Episode 7 of Star Wars, featuring the return of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, which will be in theaters at the end of the year; might as well include Episodes 1-6, too!; and, well…. how about a fruitcake??!! I’m sure it would still be edible! 😉

  4. Fallon Elizabeth says:

    Nice article. I really enjoyed it. It was very thought provoking.

    I guess an i-Phone 6+ could be placed in there with a special Podcast by the people of Radio Lab, a few great books, and movies, a picture library full of images of events that shaped our year, and some sort of apology for what we are doing to Earth and how we are leaving it for the future. I guess we would need a solar powered battery charger as well. Who knows what we will come up with by then.

    Please, I will not allow Starbucks, or Red Bull to be in the time capsule. First impressions are everything. I don’t want the future to think we are all addicted to insane amounts of caffeine.

    What this post does make me realize is how much people forget when they are not directly effected by an event. What I can say for sure is I have felt a greater sense of fear due to current events than ever before. There were more than a few events that happened this year that make me concerned for what is coming.

  5. Steve Piacente says:

    Kathleen, batteries die, but fruitcakes last forever! Thanks for your comments.

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