State wants your ideas for a time capsule to open in 2389

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- If you had to put something into an oversized shoebox for somebody to see or read in the year 2389, what would it be? That's the question a group of Capsule Keepers are asking Washington residents as they prepare a stainless steel container to go into the state's evolving time capsule situated in the south end of the state capital building in Olympia.

Twenty five years ago, on November 11, 1989 the first of 16 time capsule containers were filled with items that reflected the previous 125 years of state history and cultural events. At that time, 300 10-year-olds were sworn to become Keepers of the Capsule to preserve the legacy of filling a container every 25 years. The plan is for all 16 capsules to be opened on the state's 500th birthday, November 11, 2389.

"Which is roughly the distance from the pilgrims from where we are now," says Knute Berger, the architect of the state's Centennial Time Capsule Project. "Just think about opening up a time capsule right now left by the settlers in New England, it would be pretty interesting."

Now a group of those Capsule Keepers, now 35 years old, are asking for the public's help with ideas of what should be placed in this year's container which would go into the larger time capsule on November 11, 2014.

Items can't be organic, not have batteries embedded inside and can't pose any contamination risk with other items inside the container. They will accept messages for the future via email at

The capsule seal 25 years ago contained 10,000 messages for the future preserved on microfilm, a 1989 Fredrick and Nelsen Christmas catalog, the Seattle area Yellow pages on a floppy disc, a woven Indian basket, a sterling silver 747 pin from Boeing, a copy of Microsoft Bookshelf software, a couple of WSU's Universe Magazine on microfilm, a Centennial license plate bearing the number "2389" and other items that were kept secret.

"You have a series of time capsules, it would be kind of an archeological site, you can see how society changed in stages," says Berger.

25 years ago, Jennifer Estroff was one of the 10 year olds that took the oath at the capitol to become a Keeper of the Capsule.

"I remember feeling part of something really special although I wasn't sure what it meant at the time," says Estroff.

Now she's the board chair of Keepers of the Capsule, looking for sponsors for this year's collection and overseeing the recruitment of a new generation of 10 years to become Capsule Keepers.

"Kids that were born between November 4 and November 18 of 2004 can go to and sign up to be a keeper for this generation," says Estroff. She says children of previous Capsule Keepers can become one too.

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