Posts Tagged ‘time capsule’

POSTPONED: Time Capsules: Relics of History & Hope

Westinghouse workers admire the time capsule created by the company for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York


In light of the changing COVID-19 situation in NYC and to allow our speaker to avoid unnecessary air travel, we have decided to postpone Time Capsules: Relics of History and Hope until Fall 2020, when we’ll celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the Westinghouse time capsule. Hope to see you then!

Thursday, March 19 at 6:30 pm at the City Reliquary

$10 AdmissionMembers free (Join Today!) – Space is limited and advance tickets are recommended!

Precious antiques and relics are usually either handed down from generation to generation, traded by collectors, or preserved and exhibited in museums such as the City Reliquary.  But with time capsules, one can transform an ordinary artifact of the present into an instant relic, packaged and sealed for future antiquarians

In this talk, Prof. Nick Yablon will discuss the origins of this practice in Gilded Age America, drawing on his new book, Remembrance of Things Present: The Invention of the Time Capsule. In keeping with this museum’s emphasis on cultural ephemera, he will focus less on the written messages than on the artifacts that he found in various chests and boxes around the country—from handcrafted objects and exotic oddities (such as Robespierre’s molar) to manufactured items such as shoes or a telephone.

What kinds of insights or hopes did people hope to convey by depositing these things?  Why did historians and museum curators disdain such ordinary artifacts until well into the twentieth century?  And could such deposits, as material links spanning the centuries, foster respect for the rights of posterity?

Copies of Remembrance of Things Present will be available for purchase and signing, and the Museum will have a special selection of rarely-displayed artifacts on view in keeping with the time capsule spirit of the event.