The University of Idaho has been around for over 130 years, giving students quality education and memories that last a lifetime. Its long prosperous history has led to the creation of a few time capsules, set aside and buried for the unearthing of future generations to come. Prematurely dug up in June of 2020 due to construction projects on campus, the time capsules buried in 1989 did not fare so well. The concrete basin the capsules were placed in had leaked and filled with water, and the seal on one of the capsules broke, allowing water in to the materials.
An interdisciplinary university task group formed to determine the best way to preserve the materials and prevent any exposure to possible mold, all while maintaining the legacy intended to document our past. They have now been rehoused, cleaned, and repaired for their original intended unveiling in 2039 and 2089.
The creation of the first time capsule, dedicated in 1939 by President Dale, was opened during the centennial celebration by President Gibb in 1989, with a new capsule to be buried for the university’s 200th birthday in 2089. It was originally intended to preserve a single 2089 capsule, but when the 50 year time capsule was opened it was a unique celebration of many generations. Many of those who were present in 1939 were present for its opening and celebration in 1989! So, the Centennial Coordinator of 1989, Hal Godwin, wanted the same opportunity for those who were witnesses in 1989 to see its opening in 2039.
And so, in 1989 during the Centennial Celebration of our university’s founding, two time capsules were created with materials and artifacts of that year plus some older materials honoring the spirit of celebration in opening the 1939 capsule, to be sealed and buried to be opened in 2039 and 2089. In this time capsule lies materials quintessentially 80s, Walkman, cassette tapes, and photographs - a snapshot of all aspects of 1989. But what is also buried for the future generations of Vandals are kind words and hopeful thoughts for the future students, faculty, and staff to enjoy their time at the University of Idaho as much as they did.
Post written by Erin Geslani.