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Monday, July 22, 2024  |  9 am – 9 pm

Monday – Thursday: 9 am – 9 pm
Friday: 9 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 1 – 5 pm

Preserving Family Moments with a Time Capsule

By: Sophie Kenney, Youth Department Director

As a frazzled parent of three young children, I was often told: “The days are long, but the years are short.” This adage still resonates with me years later, not just because I’m still frazzled most of the time, but because the passing of each year seems to speed up the older my children become.

Our family loves to reminisce by looking at old photos. Together, we share our thoughts and feelings which allow us to collectively relive memories. By diving deeper into special moments, we’ve created opportunities to discover new narratives and enrich our understanding of each other.

This summer, as the library hosts World on the Move: 250,000 Years of Human Migration, I encourage you and your family to capture what the summer of 2024 was like with a family time capsule. This simple activity involves collecting items from each family member, assembling a capsule to house the collection, and opening the capsule sometime in the future. The best part is that it’s just as much fun to put together as it is to open! Here are the steps:

1. Choose where to hide the capsule. There are endless ways to hide your capsule, whether it’s outside or in your home. Choose a location that’s easy to access and one you won’t forget! The location you pick will also factor into the type of capsule you use, so keep that in mind.
2. Choose the capsule. The capsule should be large enough to fit items for each of your family members. The best containers are airtight and waterproof, to prevent damage. If you’re keeping your capsule outdoors, make sure it is durable for Chicago winters and critter proof.
3. Assemble the contents. Gather items from each family member to create your collection. These items can be anything! Popular things to include are photos, favorite toys, mementos from special occasions, and artwork. It may be helpful to label the items and include short notes about why they are important.
4. Seal the capsule. Once you have everyone’s contributions, put them into your capsule and secure it.
5. Hide the capsule. Place your capsule in its hiding spot.
6. Choose an opening date. Decide when in the future you’ll open your capsule. There is no set timeline so pick what works
best for your family. Remember to note the opening date and the time capsule location so you don’t forget.
7. Open the capsule. When the time comes, open it up and have fun reflecting on the summer of 2024.

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