A Newsletter of the White River Valley Museum

January 2002

Opening the Time Capsules

by Dr. Tina Brewster Wray, Curator of Collections


The year "sixty-nine" now
marks the sealed space
With pictures and signatures
tucked in this place.
So let the time-capsule lock
up our past
With a prayer for the future
and a peace that will last.

Marguerite Arabel Wing
(written for sealing of WRVM time-capsule)

The 1969 time-capsule project was conceived and organized by Museum board member Joe Koch. As part of the activities surrounding the construction of the new museum building, donors to the building fund were invited to create their own personal time-capsule - sealed in galvanized pipe - to be sunk into concrete near the museum entrance. Eighteen time capsules were contributed and were buried on July 31, 1969, with the intention of opening them in 100 years.

The 2001 renovations and new landscaping of the museum made it necessary to remove the concrete slab that contained the time capsules. Several of the capsules were damaged during the removal process, so it was decided to open them to check on the contents. Upon discovering that they contained primarily paper items that were already showing signs of deterioration from 32 years of burial, it was decided that they all should be opened in the interest of preservation.

Installing the time capsules, July 31, 1969.
Left to right: Ed Freeman, Clarence Shoff, Joe Koch, Alice Koch,
Jim Shaughnessy, Maynard Titus.

The eighteen time capsules were contributed by a variety of individuals, clubs and businesses. Given the restricted space in the capsules (metal pipes 13 to 26.5" long and 2 to 2.5" in diameter) their contents were limited to paper items and small objects. Items in the time capsules included: newspaper clippings, family and club histories, newsletters and programs, stamps, coins, business and credit cards, etc. A complete inventory was made of each capsule, and those items of relevance to Valley history will be added to the museum's family history files, vertical files, archives or artifact collection.

List of Time Capsule Contributors
1. Scarff Motors
2. Wayland Arms Apartments
3. Miles Sand & Gravel
4. Kiwanis Club of Kent
5. Auburn Women's Club
6. Auburn Garden Club
7. Auburn Coin Club
8. Manhattan & Boeing Employees Coin Clubs, Green River, Auburn
9. Kent Rotary Club
10. American Legion Post 15, Kent
11. Joe & Alice Koch
12. John & Theo Ham
13. Lena McGonigle
14. Van Winkle Family
15. Betty Roberson
16. John Throop & Wayne Burgess
17. Wayne Heisserman
18. Clarence Shoff

Selected Time Capsule Inventories
Auburn Women's Club
History of Auburn Women's Club
History of Valley Art Association
List of Women's Club presidents
Women's Club Schedule, 1968-69
Time-capsule poem
Flier for songbook, "Songs for Washington Club women"
Certificate, Washington State Association of Minute Women
Newspaper clipping relating to Auburn Women's Club
Ball-point pen
2 pairs of earrings
1969 6-cent stamp
Metal pen nib
Lena McGonigle
15-page handwritten account of family & 
local history
Wayland Arms Apartments
History of Wayland Arms Apt. Complex
Letters from Wayland Arms Apt. Residents Selma Sandland & Gladys Beck
12 photographs of Wayland Arms Apartment and residents


Dr. Tina Brewster Wray