Peabody Buries Time Capsules to be Unearthed in 10 to 15 Years

Amidst construction and demolition, the Peabody Museum buried two time capsules filled with photos, mementos and trinkets that represented 2010. The capsules are expected to remain buried for 10 to 20 years. The time capsule contained Edward Cullen Twilight Saga Band-Aids, a Lady Gaga t-shirt, an old iPod and multiple articles pertaining to current events. Marla Taylor, Assistant Collections Manager, decided what materials were put into the time capsule and subdivided the included items placed in the time capsule into three groups: materials that represented international events, the Phillips Academy community and the Peabody Museum. “The contents of the time capsule were largely based on student suggestions from the Peabody Work Duty pool. I sent an email out to all the students, arbitrarily dividing them into groups to brainstorm items to represent the three main sections, and about half of the students responded with suggestions,” said Taylor. “Fortunately I had students from each of the three categories respond so I could compile their suggestions and supplement it with ones [the Peabody staff] thought we should include also.” The items intended for the pop culture section take a snap shot of the fads of today. “Some of the things [in the time capsules] that I really liked are like the Lady Gaga t-shirt and Twilight band-aids because they really show how crazy people were about them, the Twilight Saga especially,” said Taylor. The museum also included snippets of articles from The Phillipian, a BlueCard from Head of School Barbara Chase, statistics about Phillips Academy and a picture of the class of 2010 as some of the items selected to represent the Phillips Academy community. “I think one of the coolest things we have in there is Barbara Chase’s BlueCard. I think it’s really interesting that she got involved in such a way and made [the time capsule] so unique,” Taylor said. In addition to the school’s contributions, photos of the staff, renovations and museum events were included along with debris from the construction site, a 2010 renovation timeline and a Peabody lapel pin were included in order to represent the Peabody. Taylor said, “I also really liked having a whole staff photo from the Peabody including Eugene Winter who is our Curator Emeritus. I really liked having that group picture because we might not all be here in 20 years when it’s opened and it’ll be a nice way for us to have a little stamp.” Lindsey Randall, Museum Educator, said, “Hopefully for people in the future [the time capsules] will be like a little snapshot of what 2010 was like, not only at the Peabody but at Phillips Academy.” The museum staff decided to create the time capsules after they realized that the front steps would be removed during renovation. The capsule will be placed 13 feet in front of the front door and seven inches below the surface of the ground. Marla Taylor, Assistant Collections Manager, said, “The time capsule was something that was brought up in one of our meetings and we were all instantly enthusiastic [about the idea], we felt it would be awesome, and I knew the work duty students would love to help out.” The staff took special precautions when preparing the items for the time capsules. All of the paper products included were printed on special acid-free paper to prevent them from deteriorating. The renovations are scheduled to be completed by December. The renovations include the addition of a new staircase, refinished bathroom and a more accessible entrance. The capsules will be unearthed when the Museum undergoes further extensive renovation that requires removing the front steps. Blustain said, “The ramp that we are putting out there is really only temporary so when we do another renovation we hope to exhume the steps and dig up the time capsule. We’d like it to be next year but that’s probably unlikely, I’d say between 10 and 15 years.” Throughout the renovations the Peabody has discovered snapshots from the past—through crumpled old newspapers from 1901, when the building was constructed, and paper debris from mid 1900s found hidden in the woodwork. Randall said, “We’ve been finding random time capsules, snatches from the past that were probably discarded and forgotten but are now being rediscovered. This really give you a glimpse of life then, and we hope our time capsule will do that too.”