Time capsules are such a simple idea, but somehow so exciting. You take a receptacle — box, barrel, trunk, what have you — and fill it with stuff. Years later, that receptacle is opened by people who presumably weren't alive at the time you filled it with stuff and gawk at how ancient those things are. In the interim, whenever the time capsule is mentioned, people speculate endlessly about what could be in it.
Mystery and history all in one. Throw some famous people into the mix and you've got yourself a real firestorm of guessing.
Check out these powerhouse time capsules opening (sort of, but not really) soon, courtesy of Newsweek:
1. FDR's Time Capsule
This capsule was buried under the quad at the University of Pennsylvania in 1940 and weighs a cool 450 pounds. What could be in it? We won't know for another 25 years, as it's not scheduled to be opened until 2040.
2. The Nickelodeon Time Capsule
There's a little more information about this one, as it was buried pretty recently. In 1992, the kids' network filled its time receptacle with a Nintendo Gameboy, Home Alone on VHS, a box of Twinkies and a jar Of Gak. Gak, for those who aren't aware, is a formerly popular type of goo.
The capsule is buried in front of Nickelodeon Studios at Universal City, Calif., and is due to be opened on April 30, 2042, exactly 50 years after it was put in the ground.
3. General Dynamics Time Capsule
For space lovers, this is a good one. In 1963, researchers at the General Dynamics Astronautics facility in San Diego put together a time capsule to be opened 100 years later. Among the items they placed inside was a booklet named 2063 A.D., which included predictions of where space exploration might stand in that year, with contributions from astronauts, world leaders, scientists and many others. Will be interesting to see how close they got.
4. Los Angeles Bicentennial Time Capsule
Buried on the city's bicentennial in 1976, this capsule will be opened on its tricentennial in 2076. Among the items that will be pulled out: a Pet Rock, a dress worn by Cher, Jerry West's jersey and probably pieces of an endless freeway system.
5. Martin Luther King Jr. Time Capsule
Underneath the Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., there's a time capsule containing some of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s personal belongings. It will be opened 100 years after it was buried, in 2088.
6. National Millennium Time Capsule
This one contains "artifacts, idea, or accomplishments" that best represent the U.S. at the turn of the millennium. This will be opened in 2100.
7. Westinghouse Time Capsules
A pair of time capsules were buried under the site of the New York World's Fair, one in 1939 and one in 1965. There are instructions for both to be uncovered at the same time in the year 6939 A.D., 5,000 years after the first one was sealed. The 1939 capsule holds newsreels, seeds, some Camel cigarettes and a message from Albert Einstein. The 1965 one has an electric toothbrush, freeze-dried food, a Beatles album and birth control pills. Appropriate.
8. Crypt of Civilization
It's pretty far from a guarantee that there will be humans around to open this capsule when it's supposed to be unearthed in 8113. In any case, it's supposed to be representative of what's been important to our civilization thus far: classic works of film and literature, every religious text and an original script for Gone With the Wind, among other items.
9. George Lucas Time Capsule
George Lucas, the father of Luke and Luke's father and really everyone in the Star Wars universe to some extent, has buried a time capsule at Skywalker Ranch that contains a bunch of memorabilia and valuable items from his company. Lucas told Wired in an interview that the time capsule will "never" be resurrected because "it's for some archeologist 2,000 years from now to discover," so this unveiling admittedly might be tough to attend.
Cover image: Vincent Lock via Flickr