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Time Capsules

Deliberately saving documents, objects and ephemera in a dedicated place to be found and opened by future generations has a long history dating back to ancient times.

The purpose of this page is to provide up-to-date general and technical information to those who are interested in creating and constructing time capsules for themselves or institutions.

The survival through time of the capsule and its contents depends on many factors including the construction of the container, the materials chosen for inclusion, location of the capsule, and other variables beyond human control.

It is intended that the reader will become better informed in order to make proper decisions on what to put in their capsule and where to locate it for the maximum preservation of the capsule and contents. Links to other institutional web sites are also provided for further research.

photo of the laying of the cornerstone of the Minnesota State Capitol, 1898.This photograph shows that hundreds of people turned out on July 27, 1898 to see the laying of the cornerstone of the Minnesota State Capitol, which was under construction for more than seven years. A metal box was placed inside the cornerstone containing, among other things, the Holy Bible, the first two volumes of the Minnesota State Statutes, a history of Minnesota volunteers in the Civil War and many other books, speeches, newspapers, photographs, engravings and copper etchings. Generally, items in metal boxes placed in cornerstones are subject to adverse conditions due to rising ground water, seepage water, and fluctuating temperatures and humidity.

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