By: Spencer Bowman, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2020, English and Media, Bloomington
The bicentennial time capsule team’s look back in history helped to give us the background and context necessary for our planning and implementation of the bicentennial time capsule, to be buried in 2020.
Firstly, we now understand and appreciate just how important is to ensure the university’s new time capsule can actually be recovered in 2120. Our team has been brainstorming and will eventually work with IU administration to find an appropriate location for the time capsule so that is remembered for decades to come.
Another large part of our research which helped with our development of a project plan for the 2020 time capsule was investigating what other universities around the country have done in regards to time capsules or cornerstones.
My search focused on Big Ten colleges, and while each campus had a unique take on their own time capsule which served as inspiration for our own brainstorming, a few problems were evident in more than a few examples.
The most frequent issue was time capsules being lost or forgotten, only to be found during a building demolition in a few lucky cases, with only those placed in prominent locations with clear markings opened as they were intended to be when they were buried.
Other patterns I saw which I thought should be avoided in our time capsule involved the choice of the items which should be included. Many emphasized logistical information—class schedules, rosters, event programs, etc.—and while these documents are surely useful from a historical perspective, they also left audiences of eager students disappointed in what could have been otherwise been a celebratory event. 
Because of this, our time capsule will aim to strike a balance between important information for the future as well as more artistic, personality-driven artifacts which can give a greater sense of just who the people of IU 2020 were.
After looking at other university’s time capsules, I believe an inclusive process which welcomes the voices of students, staff, faculty, and alumni will be a fantastic way for our project to stand out among other university time capsules and survive for a century.
There are still questions regarding what this process will look like, but our goal is to create an online submission system and have those submissions considered by a review panel that is representative of every IU campus and every category of individuals—students, alumni, faculty staff, etc.
As we wrap up this semester’s research and start to discuss questions about the bicentennial time capsule, my interest and investment in this project has only increased.
The potential recovery of the centennial time capsule is something I am greatly looking forward to seeing.. There is still a lot of work (and a few years) between now and putting our time capsule in the ground for a century, but until then, I’m having a great time putting in the work to make my mark on IU history. See you in 2120!
For part one of this blog, please visit: https://blogs.iu.edu/bicentennialblogs/2017/04/14/my-semester-as-a-treasure-hunting-time-traveler-part-1/
 Vesey, Tom. “Time Capsule Underwhelms Crowd” The Washington Post, November 25, 1986.